Travel agents say they may lose holiday bookings to Europe if surcharging becomes commonplace.

Operators are being forced to surcharge customers travelling to certain destinations due to the pound’s dramatic fall against the euro over the past six months.

Out of 24 ABTA members currently surcharging, 19 say they have introduced the practice because they are losing money due to the exchange rate.

Travel agents are having to ask clients for extra money after they have paid for their holiday.

Association of Independent Tour Operators chairman Derek Moore warned any further weakening of the pound against the euro could see more operators introduce the practice.

He said: “For many operators who do not surcharge, the logic suggests they will have to start thinking about it or operate at a loss.

“The big question is which operators will start thinking about it and whether it will open the floodgates.”

Bawtry Travel Worldchoice owner Katherine Doyle added: “I hope we can get through this without passing [the extra cost] on to the client, but…I expect some of the smaller operators will have to do it. What I hope is none of the tour operators jump on the bandwagon and use it as a method of profiteering.”

Alba Travel business development manager Janice Hogarth said it would cause her problems if the practice became widespread. She added: “There are so many surcharges for different things that customers are getting fed up with all the costs we’re adding in.”

Greenstar Travel director Martyn Fisher said the public is already dealing with rising costs and any demands for extra cash could deter customers from booking holidays.

He added: “A lot of people have said they do not want to forgo their summer holiday and we don’t want to give them any excuse to [do that].”