The Association of Specialist Travel Companies (AITO) has criticised the UK government for discouraging the booking of international holidays this summer.
All trips are currently banned until May 17th,
Speaking over the weekend, defence secretary Ben Wallace refused to rule out an extension to the ban in order to control the spread of Covid-19.
Wallace said that booking a trip abroad would be “premature”.
The remarks follow those of a scientist on the government SAGE advisory body who had argued holidays overseas are “extremely unlikely” because of the risk of travellers bringing variants to the UK.
The UK faces a “real risk” if people travel abroad, Mike Tildesley said.
However, AITO chairman Chris Rowles said it was too early to predict what the situation would be, saying the industry was awaiting a report from the Global Travel Taskforce on April 12th.
“They are all jumping the gun,” he said.
“The travel industry deserves better, quite honestly.
“We have fought now for 13 months, without respite, to keep our heads above water, refunding our clients often from our own pockets, without any sector-specific support, despite the Office of National Statistics declaring travel to be the worst-affected sector of all.”
AITO members have reported a dramatic slowdown in bookings this weekend, just as confidence had picked up with the success of the vaccination programme.
Rowles added: “It seems to have been overlooked that May 17th, the earliest date for international travel to restart, is more than two months away.
“Destinations are working hard to ensure that visitors and locals alike will be safe when travel recommences – subject of course to one and all wearing face masks, socially distancing and hand washing, as recommended, for the foreseeable future.
“All we ask is for some common sense to be used.”