Aito has accused the government of "sabotaging" the recovery of the UK’s outbound travel industry after formally advising consumers against booking their summer holidays at this time.
Chair Chris Rowles described the comments, which came in a "roadmap review" issued on Monday (5 April) just a week ahead of the Global Travel Taskforce’s 12 April report, as "death by back-stabbing".
The review was published shortly after prime minister Boris Johnson pre-empted the taskforce’s report by confirming the government would introduce a traffic light system to govern the restart of international travel.
Rowles also renewed Aito’s call for sector-specific support for outbound travel.
"We all listened to Boris Johnson’s broadcast and felt reasonably encouraged things were going in the right direction and that the Global Travel Taskforce, due to report in seven days’ time, would have steps in place to enable us to trade after the past 14 months of negative cash flow," said Rowles.
However, guidance issued by the government following the broadcast read: "For the moment, the government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer."
"Aito’s 200-plus specialist holiday companies and travel agents, along with plenty of other travel businesses that sell overseas travel, have been left to rot by this deceitful and simply uncaring government," said Rowles.
"Rather than discussing anything with the outbound industry or offering us help as they have with the creative arts and hospitality sectors, listed by the government’s own Office for National Statistics as second and third worst hit industries (travel being the top), they’ve simply ignored us and treated us as if we don’t exist."