More than 200 travel and hospitality businesses have joined a campaign demanding a U-turn on planned 14-day quarantines for arrivals into the UK - a policy one signatory has labelled "deeply worrying".
The group of major hotels, travel companies and restaurateurs claim the plan is “unworkable” and have endorsed a letter sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The firms accuse the government of being "woefully slow" in protecting the industry from Covid-19 financial impacts and they say the plans will "deter" foreign tourists from visiting the UK.
They are calling for air bridges to be created which enable people to travel – without being quarantined – between countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low.
Current plans would mean all international arrivals – apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles – would need to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8.
Despite the letter, the government is pressing ahead with the quarantine plans, the prime minister's spokesman said, however "air bridges" are being considered.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the quarantine policy will be "regularly" reviewed on a "three-week basis".
The letter says a "mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers" is the "very last thing the travel industry needs".
Not only will it reduce arrivals into the UK, the letter says, but "it will deter UK visitors from travelling abroad and, most likely, cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on British visitors, as France has already announced".
George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, who is leading the campaign by travel and hospitality firms opposed to the measures, said: “This is not just a group of company bosses complaining, but employees from bottom to top calling for the quarantine plans to be quashed.
“The extent of their pain is deeply worrying for our economy and our country.”
Seventy-five businesses signed the letter to Ms Patel last week, but it has now been endorsed by more than 200 as concern about the impact of the quarantine grows.
Firms which support the campaign include London hotels the Ritz and the Dorchester, travel firms Kuoni and Inghams, and chef Jason Atherton.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that more than 20 Tory MPs are also demanding that the Government changes its quarantine plan.
Transport Select Committee chairman Huw Merriman called for the blanket rule to be “ditched” in favour of other measures such as “air-bridges, compulsory PPE and temperature testing at airports”.
Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers also gave her backing for the scheme to be altered, telling BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I would very much prefer the quarantine rules … be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots.
“I think we really do need to find ways to ease travel between this country and other countries like Italy and Spain and France where not only are there important business connections but people do desperately want to be able to take their summer holiday.”