Travel restrictions are set to stay in place until at least the end of January, according to reports.
In a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron Covid variant, the government introduced tighter regulations earlier this month.
Currently, anyone travelling into the UK must present proof of a negative test and take two PCR tests within two days of arrival. They must self-isolate until they get notification of a negative result.
It now looks unlikely that the government will ease the restrictions at the next travel review, due on January 5.
Industry insiders have told The Times that they have “abandoned hope” and fully expect the restrictions to remain in place until the end of January.
One source told the paper that it was a “disaster” for the travel industry with many holidaymakers expected to abandon their winter sun or ski getaways.
“Any hope of the measures being ditched has basically evaporated,” they said.
“The mood music from the government is to keep everything in place through January while they try and work out just how bad winter is going to be. It’s a disaster for the industry.”
There are fears that the current restrictions could also put Brits off booking their summer holiday.
Boxing Day is typically one of the busiest times for these bookings, with millions of sun-seekers turning their attention to summer following the Christmas anti-climax.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, the boss of Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s biggest group of travel agents, said: “As we approach what is typically the peak travel booking time, when making plans for summer holidays should fill households with excitement, this year the industry and consumers face more uncertainty with onerous and expensive travel testing still in place.
“At this critical time for the travel industry, and a sector facing continuous barriers to trading, we are urging the government to scrap this futile testing regime once and for all.”