December 2020, just under 3,5 million international visitors came to the UK contributing around GDP2,5 billion through spending in shops, restaurants, hotels, and tourism destinations. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 crisis has brought export industry inbound tourism to a near standstill, with a 76 percent (source VisitBritain) fall in international visitors throughout 2020, and key markets such as the US and China closed almost entirely.
Inbound tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs), who are responsible for bringing in over half of all international visitors, are on the brink with 60 percent fearing that their business will be unable to survive the crisis. Their collapse will hamper the UK’s economic recovery which is why UKinbound is calling for the creation of an Inbound Tourism Resilience Fund.
The fund would see tour operators and DMCs able to apply for a capped grant, awarded based on the level of turnover lost in 2020 and forecast operating costs. Without this support, it is believed that:
Sectors that rely on tour operators and DMCs to bring in business, including attractions, hospitality, retail, hotels and transport providers would fail
- Regional destinations that rely on tour operators and DMCs to bring visitors will lose out on valuable income, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk and impeding the Government’s levelling up agenda
- Pent-up demand and future business will be lost to competitor destinations