It is “naive” to assume the travel industry will escape redundancies once the government’s job retention scheme finishes, according to industry lawyer Jo Kolatsis.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly Webcast, Kolatsis, director of Themis Advisory, and Juila Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, said that while the industry was “working harder than ever”, the furlough scheme designed to help businesses survive long term “in reality doesn’t work for our industry”.

Kolatsis said travel firms would have to take a serious look at how they run their operations once the furlough scheme, recently extended by the government to June 30, comes to an end.

She said: “It would probably be a bit naive to suggest we will not see some redundancies after this. I don’t think we will be able to pick up the day after lockdown finishes and carry on as if nothing has happened.”

Lo Bue-Said said the Advantage consortium had already had some “distressing conversations” with members experiencing pain in their personal and business lives as a result of the crisis, but insisted its agencies remained resilient.

She said: “They are smart business people, making smart business decisions. We have just got to keep optimistic that they will come through this.”

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She said the agency consortium had been focused on helping members’ mental health in this difficult period, with its “Wellness Wednesdays” videos on YouTube.

She added: “I have gone to bed shedding a tear; I am not ashamed to say that. But members are very resilient and very good business people. They are holding true to their values and so long as we stay united as an industry we will be in a good position to come out of this.”

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