The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned fresh border closures will stall economic recovery and called for the opening of ‘air corridors’ linking major financial centres.

The WTTC urged governments to rely on local measures “only when necessary” to combat spikes in Covid-19 and to avoid blanket restrictions rather than close national borders.

It noted governments are being forced “to consider reintroducing tough and unwelcome ‘anti-travel’ measures” by the growing number of regional Covid-19 outbreaks.

The WTTC suggested opening ‘air corridors’ between global financial centres such as London, Frankfurt and New York “where infection levels are low”.

And it called for “more consistent Covid-19 travel rules” cross Europe to counter confusion for travellers who face a “patchwork of Covid-19 national border restrictions [and] a baffling array of different travel rules”.

The WTTC warned: “Unless European governments make a greater effort to align their policies it will cause the fragile recovery to stutter and slow.”

WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “We urge governments to consider only local lockdowns.

“Governments should not close off access to countries in their entirety. Only regional border measures should be imposed if essential so the recovery of a whole economy is not jeopardised.

“Enforcing country-wide restrictions is a blunt instrument which benefits no one.

“Such measures could undo the significant efforts to revive travel and tourism, which has shown encouraging signs of emerging from the worst of the pandemic.”

She said: “Taking a more carefully calibrated approach, with local measures, will contain Covid-19 and preserve a country’s attempt to kick-start their economy by continuing to attract travellers.”

Guevara added: “The establishment of ‘air corridors’ between financial centres, such as between London and New York, would provide a vital boost to business travel and aid the economic recovery.

She insisted: “It is perfectly possible to fight Covid-19 and support economic recovery through travel and tourism at the same time.”