Great Rail Journeys chief Peter Liney has slammed the UK government’s "indecision" over the reopening of international travel.
His comments come following Portugal’s removal from the UK’s green list on 8 June after transport secretary Grant Shapps announced would be relegated to the amber list last Thursday (3 June).
Liney said the impact of the government’s indecision around the return of overseas travel cannot be underestimated on the future of the travel sector. "It is devastating for the travel industry and creating chaos for both customers and businesses alike," he said.
"The first week of June saw sales across the board drop by 40% compared to May run rates, directly in response to the latest government travel announcements."
Liney reports the 40% drop in May comes on top of significantly reduced bookings for European holidays, with 2021 bookings, he claims, being less than a fifth (19%) of normal trading compared to 2019.
"Current booking levels are simply unsustainable and consumer confidence in taking a much-needed break is being squashed once again," he added.
"The prompt retraction from Portugal from the green list is disheartening and counters the government’s own six-month review where a commitment was made to introduce a green watchlist as an early indicator a country could change from green to amber.
"We need consistency, data and logic to underpin government decisions if we have any hope of navigating our way back to international travel.
"Alongside all travel operators, we are crying out for clear guidelines for the safe return to overseas holidays. We hope this, alongside wider recognition and support for the sector, materialises before it is too late."