Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer says UK customers are resilient despite the looming Brexit deadline.

He addressed delegates at Brand USA Travel Week in London on a panel along side Tourismo Portugal’s investment and tourism project manager, Claudia Miguel.

Tanzer said: “I think given the uncertainty that’s been out there, the UK customers have been quite resilient in the face of all the news.

“2019 so far has been a strange year of stop and start bookings. As the March deadline approached we definitely saw people holding back, not sure what’s going to happen and bookings started to drop off.

“Now we are seeing the same as we get towards the October deadline, you get to the clinch points and people think, “I’m not sure what’s going to happen so I’ll hold back booking” so there have been dips.”

However, Tanzer noted that as the second deadline approaches the drop off hasn’t been as severe.

He said: “I think maybe the second time round people are thinking whatever, I’m going to travel, it’s just the couple of weeks, but compared to bookings last year we have seen the slight fall off which is the Brexit effect.”

He added: “At least people know the flights will fly and potentially a no-deal won’t happen either, so I’d expect those to start coming back.

“Overall I think what was a flat start has picked up in the lates market and tour operators all felt in August there was a pick up in business.”