US president Donald Trump’s blanket ban on travel from seven mainly Muslim countries goes against the “fundamental right” of freedom to travel, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Friday’s executive order has created “immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide.”

WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill, calling for the ban to be reversed, said: “Suspending travel based only on a person’s nationality or their origin is wrong.”

All people have the right to cross international borders safely and efficiently for business and tourism purposes, he added.

“Many travellers have been unnecessarily disrupted, due to the unclear nature of the executive order, coupled with a lack of prior consultation and poor communication to airlines and border officials,” Scowsill argued.

“If this move by the Trump administration is designed to ‘prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals’, it is important to point out that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the recent past have been perpetrated by home grown, radicalised nationals of the country involved.

“None of the shocking domestic incidents in the US since 2001 have been attributed to external terrorists who have specifically flown into the country to commit an atrocity.

“Preventing ‘aliens’ from entering the US for legitimate business or leisure purposes is misguided and counter-productive for the American economy.

“Travel and tourism bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries, and generates more peaceful co-existence.

“Our sector is responsible for the livelihoods of millions worldwide. The US has suffered in the past from similar isolationist policies.

“We urge the Trump administration to reconsider this ban.”