Advantage Travel Partnership says the government needs to sanction immediate financial aid for small and medium sized businesses to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The travel agency consortium said it feared the government was not acting fast enough, with all support measures to date not providing funds immediately in members’ bank accounts.

Chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said said she feared for members who desperately needed ways to access funds quickly in “overwhelming” circumstances.

She said: “This is a heart-breaking situation. Please don’t forget about the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our industry.

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“We need to be as vocal as we can. Let’s hope government will provide a lifeline but following the chancellor’s comments last week there has been no immediate support for businesses.

“It is imperative support is immediate otherwise the whole system will collapse. My worry is the government’s ability to act quickly.”

The consortium said it is working hard to keep members updated daily and support them in trying to look after their own businesses as well as customers.

She added: “We are keeping daily communications really tight and concise. I have started to do a video message every evening; it’s really around reassurance to say to members we are here for them.

“It’s about cash preservation right now and survival. Every day it’s getting tougher. Without question this will not be over in two months.”