UKinbound has issued a rallying call to its 300 strong member base, requesting they contact their MP and ask them to hold Treasury and Department of Transport to account, regarding the need for sector specific support for the tourism industry and the crippling effect the day two PCR test is having on the industry.
Members were issued with an adaptable template letter to send to their MP, which explained that businesses in the inbound tourism industry face an unprecedented cliff edge when furlough ends on 1 October, due to a colossal lack of understanding about the industry and its recovery.
To drive home the consequences of not providing sector specific support for businesses, the following was highlighted –
- The Government will miss its own 2021 Tourism Recovery Plan target for inbound tourism, which is set at almost £4bn above Oxford Economics’ £6.84bn prediction.
- The Government will fail to deliver a successful schedule of global events in 2022 such as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Festival UK 2022 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. These events will bring vast economic, cultural and societal benefits to the country which will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery, but they will only be realised if we have a thriving inbound tourism industry in place.
- The UK’s fifth largest export industry will be unable to generate meaningful demand – 49% of all inbound tour operators will cease by Christmas if support measures are not extended. If the industry is severely depleted, this will directly impact the UK’s ability to stimulate demand to visit the UK and therefore rebuild the UK economy.
The letter also highlighted that the day two test, that fully vaccinated EU and US arrivals are required to take, is the single biggest barrier stopping the industry from beginning a meaningful recovery. Due to this test, potential visitors to the UK are cancelling their trips and instead opting to travel to Europe where testing for vaccinated travellers either isn’t required or the cost is very minimal.
Members were also asked to challenge their MPs and the response they’ve received from Treasury regarding the notion that valuable grants have been made available to the industry. In reality, many have been excluded from claiming Leisure and Hospitality Restart Grants and systematically refused ARG grants.
Those that have been able to secure ARG were awarded a maximum of £6,000, however its value is questionable given businesses that have had virtually no income since March 2020 have tens of thousands of pounds of monthly overheads.
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “The inbound tourism sector can’t afford to accept the responses given to date from Government regarding their lack of support for the industry.
“It’s clear that many departments, specifically the Treasury, don’t truly understand the gravity of removing furlough and the short and long term consequences of not providing sector specific support to the UK’s fifth largest export industry.
“Many Parliamentarians across the UK have stood up for inbound, which has been absolutely invaluable, but we urgently need more to do so.
“With the Global Travel Taskforce review just weeks away, we have to make the Department for Transport fully aware of the consequences of maintaining the day 2 test for vaccinated EU and US arrivals. The UK is losing its international competitiveness and valuable export revenue, which would aid our economic recovery both in the short and long term.
“We’re committed to helping our members and the wider inbound tourism industry, and although the challenge we face may appear immense, we won’t give up and will continue to fight on their behalf.”