UKinbound and 67 business leaders from the inbound tourism industry, the UK’s fifth largest export, have written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for emergency financial support in light of the Omicron travel restrictions.
Signed by attractions, destinations, hotels, transport providers and tour operators from across the country, the letter emphasised that inbound tourism has been in peril for 22 months and that the latest restrictions have come at considerable cost to businesses that are on the cusp of recovery.
Alongside highlighting that even pre-Omicron businesses were struggling, the communication outlined that the re-introduction of pre-departure testing, day two PCR testing and the need to isolate pre-results, are causing mass cancellations.
To support tourism businesses that have been significantly impacted by the new restrictions, three asks were presented –
- Provide emergency grant support for businesses in the inbound tourism industry, including accommodation providers, attractions, destinations, destination management companies, transport operators, tour operators and service providers
- Allocate the £1.5bn Business Rates Relief Fund to businesses most impacted by COVID-19
- Allocate the remaining Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding to businesses facing direct challenges as a result of COVID-19
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “Almost every UK business that works in inbound tourism has been affected by the Omicron travel restrictions. These new constrains have directly restricted businesses’ ability to trade and with Government support all but ceased, the industry is in a precarious position.
“We desperately need emergency funding that would allow businesses to weather the direct effects of Omicron. We have therefore asked Government to work with the industry, prior to the next restrictions review date of 21 December, to develop a suitable fund.”
Earlier this week UKinbound released new survey results after over 100-member businesses provided feedback regarding the impact of the new UK border restrictions imposed due to the Omicron variant. 86% confirming they have received cancellations or are expecting to receive further cancellations in the run up to Christmas.
The association has also drafted a template letter for members to send to their PMs regarding the need for emergency support.