Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Thursday, August 19, 2021

UKinbound pleads with Chancellor to support inbound tourism


Travel trade association UKinbound wrote to the Chancellor, pleading with him not to abandon the inbound tourism industry, which is on the cusp of recovery.

The letter comes as UKinbound releases its latest Business Barometer member survey results, which show that one-third of businesses don't expect to survive longer than six months, considering current Government support.

It found 82% of tour operators have seen their revenue reduce by over 90% since March 2020, while 48% of members are confident about the impending 12 months.

This is the highest confidence level seen during the pandemic, since an all-time low of 11% in April 2020.

The association explained in the letter that since 12 April, most sectors across the UK were able to start trading again and are now already four months into their recovery.

In contrast, the first meaningful reopening of international travel was 2 August, and by then, most international tourists had already opted to cancel their summer holidays to the UK.

The summer season has been lost for the inbound tourism industry, leaving businesses, specifically inbound tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs), facing the equivalent of a fifth winter in a row, having received virtually no income since March 2020.           

The inflated price of testing, the type and number of tests, and the fact that many other countries in Europe do not require vaccinated arrivals to take any test, were highlighted as the fundamental barriers stopping recovery.

The association asked the Chancellor to extend furlough until the end of April 2022 - specifically for the UK's tourism industry.

It also wants the implementation of the Tourism Export Recovery Fund (TERF) which was proposed by UKinbound on 1 July.

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said "Inbound tourism businesses such as tour operators and DMCs face a cliff edge on 1 October when furlough ceases due to the Government misconception that these businesses have been in recovery for many months."

"Businesses that sustain the UK's fifth largest export industry, inbound tourism, have only just managed to survive the last 19 months. They've lost out on the valuable 2021 summer season and are facing a winter with minimal income."

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