Ahead of tomorrow’s general debate in the House of Commons on ‘Support for the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries’, travel trade association UKinbound has written to over 90 MPs to outline the overwhelming challenges, opportunities and key asks of the inbound tourism industry.
The briefing document stressed that as an export industry, inbound tourism is perfectly placed to significantly aid economic recovery as it brings new money into the UK, however currently the country is losing £60 million a day due to the lack of international visitors.
The valuable role of inbound tour operators and DMCs was outlined, and how they help deliver international tourists to destinations across the country where they spend valuable money in local economies and subsequently support regional jobs.
A lack of clarity regarding countries on the green list, the frequency and cost of testing and no recognition of fully vaccinated arrivals were all highlighted as fundamental barriers prohibiting inbound tourism businesses from trading their way out of the crisis.
The association also underlined that the recovery of over 200,000 tourism and hospitality businesses are dependent on international travellers returning to UK towns and cities; and that the economic, cultural and societal benefits of three important UK events in 2022 (Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Festival UK 2022 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee) will only be realised if we have a thriving inbound tourism industry.
UKinbound presented five asks of the Government in its correspondence to MPs –
- Create a sector-specific Recovery Fund that allocates grants to tour operators and DMCs that are reliant on international travel
- Remove employers’ contribution to furlough from July and extend full furlough for a minimum of six-months beyond September 2021
- Extend full business rates relief, without tapering, for a minimum of six-months
- Expand the number of countries on the green list and eliminate testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals from these countries, and remove VAT on testing
- Delay the removal of ID cards, on 1st October, as a UK entry document for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, to aid the recovery of the inbound sector
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said: “Worth £28.4 billion annually, the inbound tourism industry is perfectly placed to significantly aid the UK’s economic recovery, but the Government is deviating from its risk-based approach to reopening international travel putting our recovery in serious jeopardy.
“The UK’s reputation for being an open and welcoming country is being damaged, our vaccine dividend is wavering, and the 2021 inbound tourism summer season is under substantial threat.
“The Government needs to act now and invest in the inbound tourism industry. We will help revive our towns and cities, drive job growth across the UK and deliver on the UK’s Global Britain ambitions, but current policy will result in total market failure of inbound tourism if support measures are not extended.”
Alongside its correspondence with over 90 MPs, last week UKinbound asked its members to write to their local MP regarding 10th June debate and put forward their concerns and asks.