Inbound association UKinbound is urging the government to create a £45-million tourism resilience fund to halt the loss of almost two-thirds of jobs in the sector by the end of the year.

UKinbound members were due to present proposals for an Inbound Tourism Resilience Fund to the Treasury this morning, with chief executive Joss Croft reporting the collapse in international visitors is costing the UK economy £457 million a week.

The association, which represents more than 300 inbound businesses, wants a scheme of grants to enable businesses to survive until next spring when it’s hoped visitors will return,.

A recent survey of UKinbound tour operator and destination management company (DMC) members suggested 64% of jobs will be gone by the end of December and 60% feared their businesses would not survive.

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The survey of 91 tour operators and DMCs found businesses would end 2020 with turnover down an average 91%.

UKinbound forecasts turnover by the end of 2021 will reach only 47% of 2019 levels.

The association points out these “previously profitable and sustainable” businesses have so far been “excluded from crucial support channels” by the government.

The proposed fund would allow tour operators and DMCs to apply for capped grants based on the level of turnover lost in 2020 and their forecast operating costs.

UKinbound warned that without the support future business would be lost to rival destinations.

Croft said: “We’ve seen the number of international visitors fall off a cliff with the government’s delays on testing and blunt quarantine policy halting a summer recovery and costing businesses millions.

“It is essential the government provide targeted support to the UK’s 200-plus inbound tour operators and DMCs..

“Without this support, we risk pushing international visitors to other European destinations and causing irrevocable damage to the communities and regions which rely on tourism.

“A failure to support this industry will hold back our national economic recovery.”

Croft told Travel Weekly: “A lot of businesses have used their reserves and are on their knees. They need this support to be able to operate next year. They need to be in existence or business will go elsewhere.”

He warned: “Without support, we will see business failures. My concern is when the market does start to come back, these businesses are not going to be around.”

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