UKinbound has written to the prime minister pleading for “urgent and decisive action” to help the inbound tourism industry – worth £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019.

The inbound tourism association fears that its tour operator and destination management company (DMC) members need to cut 10,000 cuts – and more than half will fail within the next six months, if the government does not intervene.

UKinbound is asking for immediate support to save jobs, as well as long-term help.

Immediate measures being sought include a ‘Tourism Resilience Fund’ to help businesses that are wholly reliant on international visitors to survive until the anticipated return of the market in spring 2021.

Tour operators and DMCs also need National Insurance and corporation tax holidays until the market recovers, said UKinbound.

In the longer term, the sector needs financial support at international sales missions and help for VisitBritain to promote the UK.

Furthermore, UKinbound wants a temporary 12-month suspension of Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the introduction of a new five-year UK visitor visa for India and China.

Joss Croft (pictured), UKinbound chief executive, said: “Many tour operators and DMCs across the country, who rely solely on international visitors for their livelihoods, are on their knees –  unfortunately their futures look very uncertain without targeted government intervention.

“Before the pandemic, these businesses were viable and successful and delivered a large proportion of visitation outside of London.

“Unfortunately significant economic benefits to the UK’s nations and regions will be vastly eroded if these businesses go under and jobs are lost.

“Immediate support is needed, and we implore the prime minister to listen.

“The creation of a Tourism Resilience Fund for the UK’s 200+ tour operators and DMCs would help to shore up businesses until the market returns in spring 2021, as would allowing them access to rate relief and grant support.

“A national insurance and corporate tax holiday would also help ease the significant financial strain.

“Unlike many other tourism businesses such as attractions, restaurants, hotels and bars who can re-open and hopefully benefit from increased domestic tourism this summer, tour operators and DMCs have not seen an uptick in international tourists wanting to come to the UK and instead have seen extensive cancellations over the summer months and into the autumn.

“The industry is incredibly grateful for all the support the Chancellor has already provided, but now we need a targeted approach that will secure jobs and businesses in the inbound tourism industry, who will be vital to our long term economic recovery, a successful Brexit and the government’s ambitions for a truly global Britain.”

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