The government’s Gloval Travel Taskforce “could have been created months ago” and the travel industry “can’t afford to wait many more weeks”, say tour operators.

The bosses of Abercrombie & Kent and Elegant resorts echoed the feelings of industry associations and airlines in response to yesterday’s joint Department for Transport and Department for Health and Social care announcement.

It has been set up to look at ways to boost international travel including looking at the use of testing at airports to reduce quarantine.

Kerry Golds, managing director of Abercrombie & Kent, said: “While the government’s Global Travel Taskforce is an encouraging step, it’s incredibly disappointing this has taken so long to come to fruition, given this could have been created months ago.

“Our worry is that given the exhaustive list of government bodies involved, how long will it take to provide a solid and effectual set of recommendations? Given the value of inbound and outbound tourism to the UK economy and A&K’s global reach, we’d welcome the opportunity to be involved in the consultation process.

“Whatever the government’s plan will be, no real impact will come until 2021, so it doesn’t support the looming end of the Job Retention Scheme.”

Lisa Fitzell, managing director of Elegant Resorts had a similar view. She added: “While it is encouraging that the government announced a tourism task force, we need to react at pace to the situation, the travel industry is literally on its knees and we can’t afford to wait many more weeks for airport testing.”