Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Thursday, May 20, 2021

Over 200,000 UK jobs at risk without significant reopening of international travel

Up to half a million jobs could be lost in the UK tourism sector if the government fails to significantly reopen international travel as soon as possible, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says.

The new figures from WTTC's latest economic modelling reveals the UK could suffer a near repeat of last year, when travel restrictions prevented any significant international travel.

WTTC fears if that were to happen again, with limited travel between now and the beginning of September - even if domestic travel boosts revenues - the impact on the economy will be significant.

The impact of prolonged travel restrictions this year could wipe out a damaging £22.3 billion in the sector's contribution to UK economic growth.

However, if travel restrictions remain beyond the summer months, the impact on both jobs and GDP could be far worse.

According to WTTC's recent Economic Impact Report, 307,000 jobs were lost in the sector last year, and a further 218,000 are now at serious risk, if international travel continues to be off limits for most of the summer.

Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President, said: "We fear the embattled UK tourism sector simply cannot cope with another 'lost summer' if there is no significant international travel allowed, without damaging restrictions and unaffordable test requirements."

"WTTC's latest research lays the consequences in the starkest way with a further 218,000 jobs at risk."

 "The UK should be making the most of its successful vaccination rollout to begin to restore international mobility safely."

The UK saw the sector's contribution to GDP fall by 62.3%..

This year, tourism contributions to GDP could reach as high as £153.1 billion if international travel is resumed in time for the busy summer season.

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