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Published on Friday, April 30, 2021

UKinbound call for swift government action on reopening borders


UKinbound, alongside several other tourism bodies, have written to the Prime Minister to highlight that the survival of more than 200,000 city tourism and hospitality businesses is at risk if international visitors do not return this year.

The letter outlined that restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, theatres, visitor attractions and inbound tour operators and intermediaries in 69 cities located across the UK will struggle without inbound visitors.

According to VisitBritain data, inbound tour operators bring in over 50% of all international visitors to the UK and arrange for them to visit cities across the country.

It says an international visitor to the UK will spend an average of £696 during their trip, compaed to just £239 for a domestic tourist.

To make up the short fall, the British public would need to take an additional 55.8 million overnight leisure trips this year.

However, VisitBritain has forecast that spending on domestic holidays in the UK in 2021 will drop by 33%, compared to 2019.

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said "As we progress from Step 2 to Step 3 in the reopening roadmap it is critical that cities are not left behind as the country moves forward with recovery. We can't rely on domestic tourism to make up for the short fall and spend of international visitors, especially in our cities."

Alongside stressing the need to safely welcome back international visitors to the UK, the letrer detailed three key requests to the government.

It wants a cost-effective testing system, including the removal of VAT, funding for VisitBritain to start international marketing of the UK abroad as soon as possible, and easy access to the UK for inbound visitors from green countries.

UKinbound was joined in signing the letter by Airlines UK, Association of International Retail, Cities Restart, New West End Company, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance, Road Haulage Association Coaches and Tourism Alliance.

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