UKinbound has submitted five key asks ahead of the Government’s Autumn Statement in November:
- The introduction of a new five-year low cost visitor visa which would ensure the UK’s visa and entry systems are globally competitive. Research from The Tourism Alliance shows that an additional £2 billion could be generated in revenue for the government by reducing the cost of a five-year multiple entry visa to £145 and encouraging international visitors to upgrade from a £95 standard visa.
- Expand and reform of the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme to three years and with the UK’s major EU source markets.
- An increase in the marketing budget of VisitBritain so that the UK is on a level playing field with the rest of Europe.
- That the Government commissions an independent review of its figures on the cost of VAT free shopping to take into account wider economic activity and behaviour change, rather than simply the refund of VAT.
- The introduction of a new Youth Group Travel Scheme which would facilitate the travel of young people under the age of 18 to travel more easily to the UK from EU countries.
UKinbound has also received the results of its latest Business Barometer member survey which it undertook in September 2023. Conducted by Qa Research, the survey shows that:
- Confidence levels remain high for 81% of those businesses that responded.
- Expected or confirmed bookings for Q4 of 2023 are at the same level or higher than they were pre-pandemic for 80% of businesses responding to the survey.
- 79% of businesses stated they expected revenue for Q4 of 2023 and booking levels for Q1 of 2024 to be the same or higher than before the pandemic.
- There is strong demand from US visitors to come to the UK with over two thirds of businesses (67%) responding to the survey reporting that they are seeing growth from the USA however, only 11% of businesses responding to the survey said they are seeing growth from China.
CEO Joss Croft OBE commented, “Over the last 12 months, our business barometer survey has demonstrated increasing business confidence amongst our members and this is reflected in the growth of their bookings and revenue levels. This is just fantastic to see after the events of the last few years.
“But we cannot be complacent as international tourism is a very competitive industry with lots of choice for consumers which is why we are calling on the Government to support and further boost the UK’s inbound tourism industry with five key policy asks.”