Travel agents are warning consumers about the risks of booking airline flights that may not be subject to refunds if they themselves decide not to fly due to Covid.

The Government is advising people against all non-essential travel and, as a result, the Irish Travel Agents Association says that all overseas flights should be cancelled to ensure consumers are refunded in full.

The association says a large number of flights are being advertised by airlines despite the fact that there are no guarantees that customers will be refunded should they choose not to travel due to concerns over Covid.

The ITAA has said it is concerned about a "lack of protection" given to consumers under current guidelines and it says that many customers are not entitled to a refund under some travel insurance schemes if they choose to cancel a flight.

The CEO of the Travel Agents Association Pat Dawson said, "We are warning people when booking travel to ensure that they thoroughly read all terms and conditions before making a booking.

"If you are unsure, consult with your travel agents who will ensure that you don't run into the same difficulties as last year and lose money on travel bookings. The current guidelines have had a huge impact on Irish consumers, as the non-essential travel ban is not covered by insurance."

Travel agents says authorities here need to make a clear decision on travel policy, which will help protect consumers if they lose out as a result of Covid.