//UK to lose £2.5bn over Christmas

UK to lose £2.5bn over Christmas

Figure down to collapse in visitor numbers over Christmas break

The collapse in international visitors over the Christmas period could cost the UK economy £2.5 billion, according to UKinbound.

Last year, 3.5 million international visitors came to the UK, spending £2.5 billion in shops, hotels, restaurants and tourism destinations. Since March, inbound tourism has fallen 76 per cent with key markets like the US and China almost shut entirely.

A majority (60 per cent) of inbound tour operators and destination management companies – which are responsible for bringing more than half of all international visitors, are on the brink of collapse. UKinbound is calling the creation of an Inbound Tourism Resilience Fund to help see companies through.

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “These figures are a stark reminder of the brutal impacts of Covid-19 on the inbound tourism sector, that faces not only a bleak Christmas, but a bleak future without targeted government support.

“Since March, we have seen the number of international visitors fall off a cliff, with the blunt quarantine and the lack of rapid pre-departure testing leaving the UK’s tour operators and DMCs facing an uncertain future, with many unsure whether they will survive 2021, after being left in the cold by existing Government support schemes.

“Without further support and the introduction of rapid testing we risk the near total collapse of an inbound tourism industry and pushing international visitors to other European destinations causing irrevocable damage to the communities and regions who rely on tourism and leaving the Government’s Global Britain and levelling up ambitions in tatters.”

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.