By Amie Keeley and Juliet Dennis

The threat of an all-out war in the Middle East could “wipe out travel bookings” to the region, according to the chairman of Aito.

The Foreign Office this week warned that the security situation across 10 nations in the Middle East could worsen “with little warning”.

Travel advice has been issued across the region after the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq last week.

Britons have been advised against all but essential travel to most of Iran, and urged to be vigilant in Egypt, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Aito’s Derek Moore said: “The newspapers are building up the situation in the Middle East and I think if people read those reports it will slow bookings to the region.


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“It’s the type of thing that could wipe out bookings.

Commenting on media reports at the weekend about potential knock-on effects on popular holiday destinations such as Dubai, Moore said: “I can’t imagine a lot of people will be saying now is the time to book a holiday to the Middle East.”

Operators have cancelled upcoming itineraries to Iran.

Cox & Kings has cancelled all of its group and private tours to Iran in the spring. Autumn departures remain unchanged but customers have the option to change to another group tour.

Explore has cancelled its 14‑day Treasures of Iran tour due to depart in April.

Exodus Travels said it had had a small number of enquiries from existing clients due to go to Egypt and Oman this week.

Managing director Sam Seward said: “We’re concerned demand for key Middle Eastern destinations might be impacted with further escalation in tension.”

But he added: “Our customers are very well-travelled, adventurous in nature and generally less easily deterred by these types of situations.”

Egypt specialist Red Sea Holidays has pulled all excursions to Luxor and Cairo as a precaution.

Managing director Peter Kearns said the operator had had a “small number” of calls from customers but no requests to cancel holidays.

G Adventures said its next tour to Iran, on March 7, was scheduled to go ahead, but customers wishing to cancel would receive a full refund.

Cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard and MSC Cruises, are “monitoring the situation” but have not altered or cancelled any itineraries.

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