01:32PM, Thursday 02 December 2021
Mark Pollard, formerly of Tony Sheldon Travel, is now operating from home in Twyford
A travel agent formerly based in Maidenhead has urged people to get ahead with their testing if they plan to travel overseas after the new travel COVID rules were brought in this week.
Mark Pollard, whose business Tony Sheldon Travel recently closed down its town centre shop, added it is too early to tell what sort of impact the new rules will have on the industry.
The travel agent now works from home in Twyford under the banner of ‘Where Would You Rather Be? and hopes that the latest restrictions will not extend further than the initial three-week period.
Mark has urged people to organise their testing before they fly to ensure they take one as soon as they arrive back into the UK.
“As soon as you get back, have the test,” Mark said. "You have got to have the test booked before you come back here anyway.”
The travel industry has been especially hit hard by the pandemic and Mark added he hopes restrictions will not worsen beyond this into Christmas and January, which he said could ‘cause problems’.
He said: “It is a knock for the travel industry - it is too early to tell the impact. Travel should be able to work through testing.
"We are also affected by overseas governments - everybody is tightening up their requirements.
"There is a way that travel should be able to work - it is just finding out what the right way is. There is a balance between the economy and everybody's safety.
"We are at a point where travel is relatively slow and that is down to the pandemic and also time of year - if the restrictions carry on over Christmas I think it is going to create problems."
Mark was forced to lay off a few remaining members of staff and close his store at the end of September as pressures on the travel sector hit home.
While it was a difficult decision to make, he said he is pleased the business is still going in a different form, as he meets customers in coffee shops and other public places to help them plan their holiday.
"The business is still alive and the feedback I have had has been fantastic," he said. "[The pandemic] has taken its toll."