Aito has written to a government health advisor asking him to refrain from commenting on travel after reservations “fell to almost zero” following his remarks.
Similar comments from MPs also prompted a stream of criticism from industry leaders urging the government to wait until 12 April before making remarks about summer travel plans.
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, told the BBC on Saturday that international travel this summer was, “extremely unlikely”.
Aito chairman Chris Rowles has written to Tildesley, telling him: “To the best of our knowledge you are merely an advisor to the government - thus your views should be directed to the government alone, and not to the general public at large.
“Your comments on travel unfortunately ignore the efforts and measures of specific countries to ensure travel opens safely, still two months away.”
The letter said his comments had had a devastating impact on bookings.
“Our members report that on Saturday, usually a good day for holiday bookings since the vaccination process got underway, reservations fell to almost zero as a direct result of your comments.”
Separately, Aito has also blasted politicians “from both sides of the House” for their remarks over the weekend.
Rowles said their comments were discouraging consumers from booking travel.
“We’ve had MPs from both sides of the House, the defence minister and an academic all expressing their views before the important Global Task Force assesses the situation fully and makes its considered announcement on 12th April,” said Rowles. “They are all jumping the gun.”
The remarks had come “just as confidence had picked up”, prompted by the vaccination programme, he said.
“It seems to have been overlooked that 17 May, the earliest date for international travel to restart, is more than two months away.
“All we ask is for some common sense to be used. Let’s wait until the Global Taskforce has assessed the situation fully and properly, in three weeks’ time.”
Tildsley’s comments were not the only ones to ruffle the industry. Defence secretary Ben Wallace told Sky TV “we can’t be deaf and blind to what’s going on outside the UK”, when asked about summer travel.
This prompted Gold Medal managing director Lisa McAuley to tweet: “Hang on… defence secretary interviewed and quotes on ‘travel’… On this basis I’m available to discuss nuclear missiles or brain surgery for that matter, if anyone interested.”
Kuoni boss Derek Jones added: “The restart of international travel was always going to be based on data, not dates.
“What matters is not when it will restart but how it will… under what conditions and restrictions. Let’s see what the Taskforce has to say on 12 April.”
Miles Morgan, of Miles Morgan Travel, added: “The Taskforce should tell us the conditions for it TO happen. Let’s shut up, calm down and wait, shall we? Bring on 12/4/21.”