VisitBritain predicts ‘a slow recovery’ for domestic tourism spending, estimated to reach £51.4 billion this year, just over half of the £91.6 billion in 2019.
Last year saw about two-thirds of the value wiped off the domestic tourism industry amid the pandemic, representing a £58 billion loss to the economy.
Its forecast for inbound tourism spending in the UK this year is £6.2 billion, less than a quarter of the £28.4 billion in 2019.
In the annual review of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, chief executive Sally Balcombe said the industry had been “thriving” in 2019, but tourism was “one of the first and hardest hit sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The tourism agency’s strategy for 2021 is to drive “immediate tourism recovery through building back visitor spend as quickly as possible and supporting the industry”.
“As we see the green shoots of recovery with the roadmap for coming out of lockdown and a successful vaccination programme, we want to ensure we build on the lessons we have learnt during the pandemic,” she said in the review.
Lord McLoughlin, chairman of the British Tourist Authority, said: “After a year of digital connection and missed experiences, we cannot underestimate the immense social value that our industry will impart over the coming months. It will be key to reviving the spirits of the nation.
“We know that there is plenty of pent-up demand from people around the world to get travelling again.”