A SUCCESSFUL Cockermouth businessman has highlighted the difficulties being faced by the struggling travel industry and is calling for Government support.

Paul Cusack, owner of Cockermouth Travel - which earlier this year celebrated 40 years in business, has spoken to Workington MP Mark Jenkinson about the problems faced by so many.

Government restrictions are devastating the travel industry and putting thousands of jobs at risk, said Mr Cusack.

His business has been working for nil income since March and he has already been forced to make three people redundant. He has retained nine.

Mr Cusack is calling for improved job support and a review of the infection threshold for quarantine that is aligned with international partners; an alternative to the 14-day quarantine period; and a testing regime to reduce or replace quarantine.

"We have had no support whatsoever from Whitehall," he said. "We have, in effect, been closed since March.

"No one wants a Government handout, we really want them to work with us and the airports and health authorities and get us up and running again."

All the hundreds of bookings the business took for March onwards have been cancelled and refunded.

"I furloughed half my staff, the rest were being paid to recoup money for customers. It was a double whammy," he said.

"If things do not change so many travel businesses will shut up shop. We will not close but it's been seven months and there's still no light at the end of the tunnel."

Mr Jenkinson has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps on behalf of local travel companies.

"They have asked for the following information that would provide them with a better ability to plan for their business and best support the requirements of their customers," he wrote.

"1. Are there plans in place to introduce a testing regime at British airports to mitigate the need for several days of quarantine post flight?

"2. Are there plans to review the infection threshold for quarantine that is aligned with international partners?

"3. Can the threshold for which we close air bridges be assessed and potentially increased?"