UKHospitality is calling for the Government to address the UK’s lack of competitiveness on the global tourism market, beginning with a cut to VAT for hospitality, tourism and leisure after new ONS figures revealed that visits increased 112% year-on-year, generating £30 billion in revenue, but remain 9% down on 2019 levels.

Measures to make the UK more competitive and attractive for foreign visitors can help visitor numbers return to, and exceed, pre-pandemic levels.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “These figures are really encouraging and show that tourism is making a strong, albeit delayed, recovery from the pandemic.

“The UK is a top destination for foreign visitors, with our superb hospitality offering, culture and extensive history, and these figures show the continued demand to visit.

“However, it is worrying that we still remain almost 10% behind pre-pandemic levels. Our 20% rate of VAT ranks among the highest in Europe and the introduction of tourist taxes in Scotland and Wales will further add to the cost of visiting.

“A reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, leisure and tourism is proven to stimulate demand, both from abroad and domestically, and generate revenue.

“It is the single biggest measure the Government can introduce to boost the sector and I would urge them to do just that at the earliest opportunity.”