The lack of an Covid testing regime at UK airports is undermining "the vision of Global Britain", a coalition of business groups – including the Tourism Alliance – has warned.
The group has written to transport secretary, Grant Shapps, raising concerns over the country’s 14-day quarantine on arrival policy, and urging the government to change course.
Seen by Sky News, the letter calls on Shapps and fellow ministers to follow the example set by Italy, Germany and France by introducing an airport testing programme.
"If we don’t act fast with testing, we will make it more difficult for British businesses to continue as world class global players," the letter warns.
"While health must come first, we cannot allow the UK to fall behind when there is a solution already in place in more than 30 countries that enables the health risk to be managed while enabling travel.
"We must ensure important trade routes are not irreparably damaged, and the vision of a Global Britain lost."
Shapps has previously revealed the government was "actively" looking at airport testing, while Heathrow has partnered with Collinson and Swissport to create a Covid testing facility at Terminal 2.
However, ministers are yet to be convinced by the worth of airport testing, with foreign secretary Dominic Raab stating earlier this month less than 10% of cases would be caught by border testing owing to the rate of Covid infections that are asymptomatic.
The letter, which is also signed by the CBI, Make UK, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, calls for government to "do more" to introduce testing at airports and expand the travel corridor regime to other regions where rates of Covid infection are low and trading routes "vital".
Addressing Shapps, the letter adds: "We were pleased to hear you state the government was ’actively working’ on testing, but we urge you and your cabinet colleagues to put these words in to action."