Polka Dot Travel Directors Mark Johnson and Philippa Wilcox, travelled to London today to attend the Travel Day of Action outside parliament.
The travel industry has been decimated over the last few months. Travel was the first industry to be affected and now the last industry to be re started with no confirmed official start date. The travel industry was impacted somewhat differently to other organisations, unlike bars, restaurants, hairdressers who could close their doors and return to work when allowed, travel had to operate in a different way.
Mark Johnson from Polka Dot Travel Said “We couldn’t simply shut up shop and furlough all our staff, we had to look after our customers and their future bookings, our customers still needed us, they needed our support to either help cancel and refund their bookings or help them re book to an alternative date, we needed man power for that! 25 out of our 90 staff worked tirelessly to help our customers. Whilst this meant we weren’t making any money and travel had ground to a standstill, we were impacted as we had to then refund all cancelled bookings, we weren’t just not earning we were giving money back! Along with this we had to pay our staff to do this! Imagine a clothing store closing but having to keep staff employed to refund back everything sold within the last few months!”
The Travel day of Action today is to get the attention of the Government to pay attention to the troubles the UK travel industry is facing, they are hoping to highlight the plight of the industry and get some much needed coverage.
Philippa Wilcox said “We fully support the need to safely restart travel, we are here in London today to highlight the plight the industry is in, if travel isn’t going to be restarting soon the government need to look at tailored support for the industry. Its been heart-breaking to witness businesses suffering, staff loosing their jobs, tour operators collapsing, we are the only industry that can’t operate and that needs to be recognised fast!”
Polka Dot Travel opened their doors in October 2013 with their first store opening on Bailey Street in Oswestry, over the coming years they organically expanded to 19 x stores across, Shropshire, Cheshire, Mid & North Wales, Wirral, Staffordshire and Cheshire. As an independent agent they are able to offer their customers a variety of choice with regards to tour operators, they shop around so you don’t have to.
Helen Johnson company director added “We’re desperate to open our doors again and welcome our customers back instore, we’ve really missed seeing everyone! We decided not to re open on the 12th April due to the remaining uncertainty around international travel. Instead we have our team of Polka Dot Staff operating from our call centre located just outside Oswestry, this team are looking after all calls, emails and Facebook messages for the entire store network. We’re finding lots of our customers due to travel this summer are opting to change their holiday to next year, there is too much change and uncertainty to allow them to look forward to travelling this year. We’ll keep reviewing our decision on when to re-open based on the governments announcements every 3 x weeks, as soon as we get the news that travel can safely resume we will swinging open those doors to welcome everyone!”
Customer Mr David Griffiths was booked to travel to Portugal this August with his family. He said “We just didn’t feel like we were looking forward to going or actually know whether we were able to go! At the time Portugal was in Green now its in Amber we can’t quarantine on return so the best option was to swap it to next year. We called the team and Jody very kindly swapped us over to next August, all very swift and the service was amazing! We’d like to go in this country instead but it looks like everywhere is booked up or its totally overpriced! It looks like it will be days out this summer for us”.
Over 800 protesters attended College Green at Westminster, Travel agents, pilots, company owners, and even some travel celebrities! Mark and Philippa caught up with Simon Calder!! They are hoping the government will sit up and listen to the Travel Industry today.