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Inspired travel owner Kate Harris collapses when Covid tries to close her business


The travel agency collapses when she discovers the Covid crisis is killing the company she has run for 20 years. She says she only made £ 120 this month but still has to pay £ 500 to an employee under the vacation program

  • Kate Harris has run her own business, Inspired Travel, for 20 years. However, in the Covid crisis, she has applied for jobs to stack shelves as bookings dry up
  • I told Travel Weekly Webcast that she only made £ 120 this month but still needs to find £ 500 to pay her employee on leave
  • Was close to tears when she revealed she'd rather catch Covid losing her store
  • Banged & # 39; cr ** py & # 39; Vacation program, saying she already owes £ 10,000

A travel agent breaks down in tears as she talks about her struggle to save her previously successful 20-year-old company from collapse due to the Covid crisis – and shows how she applies for jobs, to stack shelves around them to pay bills.

Kate Harris, who owns the award-winning Inspired Travel vacation company and lives in Burbage, Leicestershire, couldn't hold back her emotions when she talked about how her business was put under great strain when she called the government vacation program "cr **" designated. py & # 39 ;.

The single mom of one spoke to Travel Weekly Editor-in-Chief Lucy Huxley for a webcast on how the travel industry was devastated by the pandemic.She only stole £ 120 in the last month and always has to be her one employee pay £ 500 more.

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Heartbreaking: Travel agency Kate Harris, who has run her own award-winning Inspired Travel business for 20 years, says it applied for shelving stacking jobs after bookings dried up due to the Covid crisis

In a webcast with Travel Weekly, she told editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley, pictured above left, that she doesn't know what she would do if she lost her store - and wonders if all of the sacrifices she has made along the way are worth it now

On a webcast with Travel Weekly, she told editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley, pictured above left, that she doesn't know what she would do if she lost her store – and wonders if all of the sacrifices she has made along the way are worth it now

Harris told the webcast that she didn't want to be a "moan" and was working hard to get a second job to support her business

Harris told the webcast that she didn't want to be a "moan" and was working hard to get a second job to support her business

She got emotional and told Huxley in the "heartbreaking" interview that she already owed £ 10,000 and was behind on corporate and sales taxes for the company.

She said she wondered if all of the sacrifices she made along the way, including the years she said she was a "passing mom" to run her own business, were worth it.

Trying not to cry when she revealed the most recent interviews she had conducted, the company executive said, “I did a Zoom interview for a job with two people younger than my 27 year old son. I answer questions like a manager when applying for stacking shelves.

"I never wanted to do that (but) this was my life and I'll do anything to save my business."

She added, "I think if I had a choice between Covid or a roof over my head, I would choose Covid every day because without my job and without this shop, I wouldn't know what I would be doing."

Huxley later tweeted the webcast and said it was "absolutely heartbreaking".

Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley warned there would be many more agents facing the same lawsuits as Kate (pictured)

Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley warned there would be many more agents facing the same lawsuits as Kate (pictured)

She wrote, "If you do one thing today … look at the raw emotion that Inspired Travel's agent Kate Harris showed to the Chancellor on this webcast about the Job Support Scheme & More." There will be a lot more agents like Kate. #SaveFutureTravel & # 39;

Another agent painted a similar picture of her own business, @julie_travel wrote, & # 39; This is the reality of what is happening to previously successful tour operators. I don't have premises but haven't made a penny since March and am now looking at a number of bookings in Lapland that may be canceled. It's heartbreaking. "

Harris said she was hoping to be back up and running by August in March but is now hoping for bookings to spike next spring.

How Covid smashed vacation plans in 2020 – many tour operators up and dry …

By Jo Tweedy

The travel industry has previously faced many problems, with terrorism, economic downturns and the previous pandemic threat – including the SARS outbreak of 2003 – that historically affected all travel agents and tour operators.

Most would agree, however, that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is the single largest strike ever in the industry … with quarantine, fears of the virus spreading on airplanes and airports, and the promise of a second wave in this one Winter this already proves death knell for many smaller operators.

While the UK's summer provided an opportunity for the staycation market to recover from the wiped out Easter break, Boris Johnson's rule of six – and the likelihood of even tighter restrictions coming soon – has kept many UK hotels and self-catering properties gearing up suffered enormous losses over the winter.

For companies that rely on overseas operations, the picture looks grim, as countries on the “travel corridor” list change frequently, meaning vacationers who typically break for the sun have little security.

This week, the general secretary of the TSSA union, Manuel Cortes, made a passionate plea for the government to do more to save the beleaguered vacation industry, with an upturn in wealth by at least spring 2021 increasingly unlikely.

At this year's virtual conference of the Institute for Travel and Tourism, he said: “I say that no stone should be left unturned to support our industry. Right now we don't really see anything (from the government).

"Whenever this virus is defeated, we will all need a well-deserved vacation. Unfortunately, if the government does not take action to maintain our industry, we will not have an industry."

& # 39; The industry cannot keep up in the short term. What we need is for the government to step in and hold the hand of the industry so we can come out stronger than before.

"It has done that for the banking sector in the past. Why can't it do that for the travel trade too?"

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