A global tourism body has warned that the UK economy could risk losing £548m a day if all incoming travellers are made to quarantine in hotels.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said that such a policy would “all but wipe out” international travel – to the tune of £380,000 per minute.
WTTC president Gloria Guevara said that without extensive support, the tourism industry would be “decimated”.
She called for an extension of the furlough scheme beyond April for those employed by the sector.
Travel firms, hoteliers, airports and airlines are all awaiting the government’s decision on more stringent border controls.
Ministers are meeting this afternoon to discuss what new measures should be implemented in order to stop the importing of coronavirus cases from overseas.
It is understood that the Cabinet is divided between those who wish for all arrivals to quarantine in hotels at their own expense, and those who believe the measures should be targeted to high-risk countries.
They are especially concerned about new variants of the disease that originated in South America and South Africa.
But tourism bodies have warned that any further measures risked hammering a sector which lost billions last year.
Guevara said: “The government has a duty to share its economic impact assessment so we fully understand the effect these measures will have on the sector and the wider economy,
“If the UK is to have any hope of reviving the economy after the pandemic, we have to protect a sector which will be instrumental in kickstarting it.”
In 2019, the travel industry contributed around £200bn to the UK economy.