The outcome of a virtual UKinbound roundtable for business leaders will feed into the government’s Global Travel Taskforce.
More than 100 chief executives, managing directors and business owners attended the 90-minute virtual event staged on the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown.
Concerns of a stop-start restart, the implications of vaccine certificates, pent-up US demand, the return of EU visitors, extension of 2020 visitor visas, access to government support and how to successfully attract tourists back to the UK were among issues raised.
They debated challenges facing inbound tourism businesses in 2021-22 with presentations from former VisitBritain head of research David Edwards and Duncan Parish, deputy director of tourism, international culture and diplomacy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
An open discussion forum focused on key issues affecting both the survival and recovery of inbound tourism businesses.
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: “The UK’s inbound tourism industry has a long road to recovery but as we’ve discovered throughout the pandemic, we are stronger if we work together, which is why we held this event.
“Generating business, a stop-start restart and cashflow are all key concerns of inbound tourism businesses across the UK and many of the issues, examples and suggestions discussed today will directly feed into our response to the government’s Global Travel Taskforce.
“As we look to the summer season, we need government to move quickly and implement a comprehensive reopening plan for inbound tourism, as it will take time for consumers to regain confidence to book a holiday to the UK and for the industry to prepare to reopen.
“However, we are still many months away from restarting international travel, and it will be many more before we see a significant recovery, which is why it is absolutely critical that the government gets the restart right. Businesses and people’s livelihoods continue to be at risk.
“Only when all barriers at our borders are removed will our industry be able to begin its full recovery.”
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