UKinbound has responded to the Global Travel Taskforce report on the reopening of international travel.
CEO Joss Croft commented, “Whilst sadly lacking focus on inbound travel to the UK (worth £28.4 billion per year to the UK economy), it is good news that we now have further detail on the reopening of international travel. We know that there is strong demand to visit the UK, and that our world leading vaccination rollout makes us a more attractive destination.
“However, the industry will be very concerned that the cost of testing may be a significant barrier to recovery. A family of four visiting the UK from a green list country would need to take two PCR tests to enter the UK in addition to further testing on their return home. At current rates this could come to £2,000 per family, increasing the cost of visiting the UK by over 50% and making us completely uncompetitive as a tourist destination. The UK already ranks 140th of 140 countries on price competitiveness and further barriers will only drive visitors to go elsewhere.
“We urge government to consider replacing on-arrival PCR tests with more affordable lateral flow tests for visitors from countries on the green list, and, if negative, removing the need for a second PCR test. We also need more affordable PCR tests, as UK rates are often double those of our competitors in Europe. And given that international visitors will want to explore the whole of the UK, we need a unified four-nation approach.
“Inbound leisure visitors to the UK spend three times as much per trip as domestic tourists, supporting 500,000 full time jobs, and many businesses and local economies throughout the UK rely on inbound visitors to survive. The UK is losing £550m per week without inbound visitors, and until businesses are allowed to trade their way back to recovery, we urgently need the government to include more inbound travel businesses in the restart grants and wider sector-specific support so that these companies can contribute to the UK’s economic revival.”