The government has stepped back from ministers’ repeated insistence that it’s “too early to book a summer holiday” in the Global Travel Taskforce report released today.

The taskforce report acknowledges: “People are, of course, free to book holidays abroad in the summer.”

It states instead that “for the moment, the government must advise there is a continuing risk of disappointment until the picture is clearer”.

The changed stance will be welcomed by the industry after ministers have  repeatedly insisted “now is not the time to book an overseas summer holiday”.

The industry may also find the report’s recognition of travel and tourism’s importance a welcome surprise.

The report states: “The resumption of international travel is vital for the economy and the general public.

“Many businesses hit hardest by the pandemic directly relate to international travel [and] . . . our travel and tourism sectors continue to face unprecedented challenges because of the pandemic.”

The government also pledges to include international travel in its Tourism Recovery Plan, now due to be published in May, as well as in the aviation and maritime recovery plans due later. The Tourism Recovery Plan had previously been expected to focus solely on inbound and domestic tourism.

The taskforce report promises: “The future recovery and renewal of the tourism and international travel sectors will be addressed in the Tourism Recovery Plan in May, a strategic framework for aviation later this year and the Maritime Covid-19 Recovery Plan later this year.”

It confirms the first of these in May will include “plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so, and lead-in times for key parts of the sector such as business events and school trips”.