A leading travel agent says the damage to the industry as a result of the coronavirus is an opportunity to reassess the way the trade is paid.

Gemma Antrobus, who owns agency Haslemere Travel and is chair of Aito Agents, called for travel agents to be paid in fees rather than commission.

Antrobus wants to see the introduction of a system where agents are paid consultancy fees for each enquiry, rather than the typical model of offering advice free of charge and relying on confirming a booking to get paid through a commission.

Many agents up and down the country who working on rebooking clients whose holidays have been affected by travel restrictions imposed as a result of coronavirus will be working to retain the commission they earned on the original booking.

On Twitter, she said: “When we are through all of this the travel industry in the UK needs to take a serious look at its fee structure.

“This situation is evidence that we cannot survive in commissions alone. I said it would take something serious to move us to a booking/consultancy fee way of working and now is the time.

“We need to follow our colleagues in other countries who value their time and expertise and charge accordingly. Bold maybe, but how many wish they had some ‘fees’ to fall back on now rather than loosing staff and businesses.”