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Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tour operators' plea to government to save them from collapse

Inbound tourism businesses could be saved from collapse with targeted government support, according to the latest UKinbound Business Barometer report.

It found that the Chancellor's targeted Job Support Scheme for those businesses that were forced to close during local lockdowns has already saved some jobs.

When the government announced its initial Job Support Scheme on 24 September, three in four inbound tourism businesses were planning to start making redundancies, but this dropped to fewer than half when those in local lockdowns were given more support.

However, UKinbound says 72% of tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs) will still need to make redundancies. It says the government 'doesn't recognise that the operating conditions of these leisure industry businesses differ from those with an obvious shop window'.

Only just over a third of tour operators and DMCs say they will still be operational when business returns.

UKinbound says it will continue to lobby government to ask for:

  • the creation of a 'Tourism Resilience' Fund to help businesses wholly reliant on international visitors to survive until the return of the market in spring 202
  •  Minister of Housing, Communities & Local Government guidance on rate relief and grants to include tour operators and DMCs
  •  testing on arrival/ regional corridors to restore consumer confidence in travelling to the UK
  •  an extension of the enhanced JSS for lockdown areas to tour operators and DMCs who have been prohibited from trading

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said "Our research clearly shows that targeted government support does work, but the tourism industry is a diverse range of inter-related businesses that depend on each other for survival, and currently the UK's 200 plus inbound tour operators and DMCs continue to be left out in the cold, struggling to survive.

"Inbound is the UK's third largest service export earner, with 40 million international visitors visited the UK in 2019, contributing £24 billion to the UK economy. Over half of these visits were facilitated by tour operators and DMC. These businesses also deliver international tourists to locations across the UK, where they spend valuable money in regional city and rural economies.

"We urgently need Government, specifically Treasury and the Minister of Housing, Communities & Local Government, to engage with the sector and provide clear targeted support for these businesses. There is a pent-up demand to visit Britain; these businesses must be helped to survive so that they can help play a key role in the UK's economic recovery. We will be delivering a proposal for targeted support to Treasury soon."

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