Travel professionals in the UK and overseas are to undergo counterterrorism training as part of a government initiative.

Staff, including holiday reps, will learn how to spot suspicious activity and be trained on what to do in the event of an attack.

Working with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, Abta will deliver training to members to “understand the nature of threats and how to create awareness among their staff”.

An introduction to the training programme has already been sent to Abta members. It will be followed by seminars, and members will be given material to train other staff in their organisations and suppliers overseas.

It follows the inquest into the massacre of 30 Britons who were shot dead on a beach in Tunisia in 2015, as well as high-profile terror incidents in Egypt and Turkey.

Meanwhile, changes to the way the Foreign Office (FCO) describes terror threats have come under criticism amid claims destinations could be “unnecessarily avoided”.

Following a consultation, FCO travel advice now includes the likelihood, predictability, frequency and context of attacks.

For countries where there has been a longstanding threat of terror, such as Turkey, the advice remains largely the same, but for countries where more recent threats have emerged, such as Nigeria and Algeria, the advice is now much more detailed.

Industry lawyer Maria Pittordis of Hill Dickinson questioned whether the new approach, following a review, added much to the existing ‘traffic light system’.

She said: “The current definition remains vague and subjective, and could lead to some destinations becoming unnecessarily avoided.”

Tim Fairhurst, head of strategy and policy at the European Tour Operators Association, highlighted the latest travel advice for France as an example of it being too vague.

“Official advice should enable informed decisions; cancellation insurance depends on it,” he said.

“State-sponsored alarmism is counter-productive.”