Industry bodies spoke out with incredulity bordering on fury on Thursday (10 December) as the sector decried the lack of clarity over the UK’s post-Brexit Covid travel arrangements with the EU.
It followed an admission by foreign secretary Dominic Raab that UK travellers could face disruption after 1 January owing to EU-wide Covid restrictions and those enforced by individual member states.
The EU has taken a common approach to its travel restrictions, where possible, with strict entry rules for those arriving into the union from non-member states with high rates of Covid infection.
Derek Moore, deputy chair of Aito, said the government must "grit its teeth and agree a deal with the EU". "Those who voted for Brexit definitely did not vote for an end to their beloved holidays in Europe," he said.
"Having had no income now for more than 12 months, the prospect of the booking famine continuing and customer confidence being hit yet again is, quite honestly, devastating."
Moore added it was crucial the Foreign Office moved to "regionalise" its travel advice in a "sensible way", and stressed an inability to operate into Europe would harm both the outbound and inbound sectors.
"The UK economy will suffer twice over," said Moore. "There is simply no joined-up thinking by government, and no consultation with the travel industry. Our government unfortunately currently resembles Bedlam, a mad house."