Published on : Thursday, May 27, 2021
National tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEnglandbrought tourism industry leaders together at its annual review event on Tuesday 25 May to set out its priorities to support the sector to recover and rebuild.
The ‘hybrid’ virtual and in-person event, being held duringEnglish Tourism Week, will reflect on the agency’s work and its priorities for the year ahead to aid the recovery of domestic and international tourism, stimulating demand and supporting the rebuilding of a more resilient, sustainable and accessible industry.
VisitBritain’s latest forecastsshow a slow recovery with domestic tourism spending estimated this year at £51.4 billion, just over half of the £91.6 billion in 2019. Last year alone saw about two-thirds of the value wiped off the domestic tourism industry, 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.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddlestonsaid,”Britain’s tourism industry is a huge driver of our economy but has faced many challenges over the past year.We’ve provided more than £25 billion in support, and I have been impressed by VisitBritain/VisitEngland and the wider sector for its agile and innovative response, coming up with new ways to provide hospitality and entertainment while maintaining social distancing and protecting people’s safety.I look forward to working closely with them all as we build back better to create a sustainable, productive and resilient industry.”
British Tourist Authority Chairman Lord Patrick McLoughlinsaid, “When COVID-19 arrived on our shores, it hit our industry first and hardest. Successful destinations and businesses across the country saw their cash flow dry up and had to close their doors to visitors. Inbound visitor spending dropped by a staggering 78 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year, and domestic spending by 63 per cent, resulting in an estimated loss to the economy of £285 million per day from tourism. The sector faced an unprecedented challenge”.
Lord McLoughlinsaid that the UK Government’s support measures including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the VAT cut for hospitality businesses and the business rates holiday were a lifeline helping many businesses survive and keeping people in jobs.