UKinbound has warned that the recovery of the £23 billion domestic tourism industry will be severely damaged and prolonged if the sector does not receive long term financial support.
The inbound tourism industry was worth nearly £23 billion to the UK economy in 2018.
The stark warning comes as the inbound travel trade association issues its latest Business Barometer results, with one in three tourism businesses saying they will have to stop trading in the next six months, even with the current government support.
Only 27% of respondents to the UKInbound survey said their business will survive the coronavirus crisis. In the barometer, 70% of respondents said their bookings, visitor numbers or customers orders were down by 55% on average, compared with the same period last year. In total, 75% saw a decrease in yield, compared to quarter one in 2019, by 56% on average.
Confidence about the next 12 months has also hit an all-time low, with just 11% of respondents confident about the coming year.
Chief executive Joss Croft urged the government not to forget about the needs of UK tourism businesses.
He said: “Over the past two months the government has put in place vast financial support programmes which has been a lifeline for many tourism businesses, albeit some are still falling through the gaps, but as we look to the recovery path and the lifting of domestic restrictions, it’s imperative that the needs of those businesses that rely wholly on international visitors aren’t forgotten.
“International travel is not likely to resume for many months and so we are most concerned about our tour operator and destination management company members as the majority will not be able to earn any revenue realistically until spring 2021 at the earliest.
“Inbound tourism generates almost £23 billion for the UK economy and we must do everything we can to safeguard this revenue stream.
“Furthermore, these businesses help to deliver on the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda as they promote and then take tourists to destinations all over the UK, generating valuable revenue for regional economies.”
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