The industry has entered “a critical period” and needs people travelling again to save jobs and “to get through the winter”, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer has warned.

Tanzer hailed the end of quarantine to a ‘Covid travel list’ of countries, but said: “We’re still in a critical period.”

He said “what happens over the summer” could determine the extent of job losses in the sector.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly Restart and Recovery webcast, Tanzer said: “The government furlough scheme will be tapering off from August. Without it, companies would have had severe problems and that hasn’t changed.

“If we can get a meaningful summer in the second half of July, August, September that will help enormously, allowing companies to build cash reserves and pay refunds and give them what they need to get through the winter.”

He argued: “Just about every member has done everything they can to batten down the hatches. It depends what happens over the summer. We’ve written to the Chancellor arguing there needs to be an extension of the furlough arrangement and salary support on a sector-by-sector basis.

“Some kind of salary support or grant scheme which would reduce the need for redundancies.

“The problem is not just the pain redundancies cause – it means the recovery is delayed. Keeping people employed has to be our priority.