The situation in the sector was further complicated by the imposition of the new restrictions. They face 2021 with a total drop in income
The new restrictions arising from the worsening of infections with Covid-19 intensified the disaster scenario that travel agencies are experiencing. After dodging a 2020 in which sales fell just over 50 percent, this section of the year finds companies in a collection situation equal to 0.
The absence of official aid complicates the survival of the companies in the sector, which understand that recovery will not come until at least the last stretch of 2021.
The state of emergency is such that the main entities of the sector already anticipate that, if there is no official help, the companies will not be able to comply with those clients who today have contracted services for some time this year.
“Rescheduling, reimbursements, cancellations: all that burden falls on the agencies without generating revenue. The reality is that companies in the sector today are in the worst of worlds,” he told iProfessional Daniel Hana, head of the Argentine Forum of Travel Consultants (FACVE).
The organization, which integrates the 45 largest operators in the sector, is one of the hardest hit by the measures to reduce flights and border closures implemented in recent weeks.
“We are returning to the situation of a year ago, but with the disadvantage that we do not have the same assistance from the Government. This greatly complicates the preservation of jobs. Companies do not have a back to adapt to the new reality of tourism” , He said.
Hana said that the field of travel agencies today faces two risks: “On the one hand, the loss of numerous jobs and the disappearance of companies with a long tradition, with years in the activity. On the other, the risk that the services already contracted cannot be attended. That clients are left without the service, stranded in the places where they are traveling or without the agreed coverage. ”
The executive said that FAVCE companies have between 50 and 150 employees depending on the case, and that such a volume of employment can only be sustained if there is support from the authorities.
“Today we are having a dialogue with a view to an eventual assistance that allows decompressing the situation. Any option that is presented in terms of tax credits, social charges, tax exemption, would be a relief. Also the development of measures for a future reactivation, as happened with last year’s preview program, “he said.
When asked about the day-to-day financial affairs of the agencies, Hana remarked that the drop in income “it’s brutal, almost equal to 0“.
Only in 2020 the sector suffered a drop in collection of the order of 50 percent.
“Last year the drop was 50 percent. Now the agencies attend changes and rescheduling without any type of income, precisely. The sector still has a very large volume of trips to attend that were contracted prior to March of last year. And it must comply beyond that there is no collection. That is why we request urgent help, “he concluded.
Request for immediate support
In keeping with Hana’s words, this week FACVE issued a statement requesting immediate support for companies in the sector.
“… the new measures that affect both the arrival of foreign tourists and the departure of Argentines abroad deepen the context of crisis that travel agencies and the tourism industry in general are going through, after twelve months of restrictions “, it was indicated from the entity.
“For this reason, today more than ever more and immediate assistance is necessary to envision the sustainability of tourism activity, companies and more than a million jobs that this industry generates,” adds FACVE.
The entity emphasized that the requested support “is currently urgent, foreseeing that the next few months will be almost nil activity, and in the midst of a scenario of urgency where agencies and the industry have gone through an unprecedented crisis with long periods of paralysis and, at the same time, have been focused on the attention of affected passengers, providing support and assistance in reprogramming of the contracted trips… “.
“We urge the government authorities to continue to redouble their efforts in the rapid search for vaccines for the entire population as the only way that can put certainty in this long process since without vaccines there will be no solution in the short term for the recovery of this industry “, highlighted the organization.