• Quote: ‘You can book a summer holiday now with confidence by booking a package holiday through an Abta member’
  • Quote: ‘It’s too early. It’s far too early. We have to look at the data at every single stage and the roadmap outlined by the Prime Minister makes that abundantly clear’ – Home Secretary Priti Patel

By Andrew Atkinson

The British travel industry rounded on government ministers after Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was too early to book a summer holiday on the back of Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving hopes that travel will be back on track by mid-May.

“It’s too early. It’s far too early. We have to look at the data at every single stage and the roadmap outlined by the prime minister makes that abundantly clear,” said Patel.

The general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, Brian Strutton, said: “It is unbelievable that yet again we have senior ministers stomping on the public’s desire to get away on holiday – after the good news just days ago.”

And Paul Charles, who is leading the Save Our Summer campaign involving hundreds of holiday firms, said: “The public have taken the Prime Minister at his word and are working on the restart of travel on May 17.

“It’s a pity the home secretary wishes to return to the days of ministers contradicting each other. Her duty as an elected MP is to help the sector recover, not dilute it and see jobs disappear.”

A spokesperson for Abta, the travel association, said: “You can book a summer holiday now with confidence by booking a package holiday through an Abta member, and many travel companies are also offering additional flexibility to take into account the ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic.”

An independent committee will report on April 12 to the British governmnent. If the coronavirus situation continues to improve summer holidays could be allowed from May 17.

Record numbers of bookings have been made to travel to Spain in 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic lead to cancellations of thousands of holidays since the beginning of COVID-19 in March 2020.

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