Have you ever been ripped off? It seems that 400,000 of your potential customers are every year, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

Its latest statistics show that most of these people are taken for an average £3,000 by companies who use a range of bogus tactics to offer people the deals of a lifetime.

After spending thousands of pounds, consumers often find they have bought little more than access to an Internet booking service that offers no more than they could get at any high-street travel agency.

Not only is this of huge detriment to the industry but it means £1 billion a year is being taken from the coffers of genuine travel agencies and operators.

ABTA has rightly claimed this brings the holiday industry into disrepute. And in an industry where margins are being squeezed, it’s a sum that travel agents and operators cannot afford to lose.

The OFT is running its own awareness campaign at airports to highlight the issue to consumers. However, it would be more prudent for those in positions of power to give more support to the industry as a whole. Stop giving the industry a bad name over carbon emissions and stop increasing the burden of legislation and rising taxes and business rates.

VisitBritain has been battling the Government for nearly three years to secure more funding. The Government Grant-in-Aid budget has been frozen for the past 12 years, which has led to significant cuts in real terms.

The tourist board claims that every pound spent can secure a return for the Government of £36 through increased revenues and taxes paid by tourists.

Having spent a month in travel after coming from the pub trade, it strikes me that the Government should be giving the industry a break.

Stamping out these rogue traders might be a good place to start.