The travel industry should not foster a close relationship with the Government, according to former MP Michael Portillo.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly during the Triton conference he warned the ­industry that more attention from Government could mean more intervention.

Portillo said: “Government departments get a distorted view of industries. The travel  industry shouldn’t want more attention.”

He suggested the aviation sector’s close relationship with  the Government has led an increase in taxation on the industry.

He also claimed that politicians are not serious about the sustainability issue.

He said: “The Government and the ­opposition love talking about green issues, but they don’t want to risk ­telling people they can’t ­enjoy themselves.

He said: “Governments have to accept that people want to travel.

“Global warming is not going to be resolved by encouraging people to travel less. It will be solved by technology.”

He issued a stark warning to travel agents, claiming a recession is imminent. “In the very near future it’s going to be tough. Travel agents will feel the effect as there will be a lot less money available.

“The local and personal ­service travel agents provide is important.”

He said travel agents should embrace change. “Change is good for you and failure is good for you. The only thing that can be feared is resisting change,” he said.