UKinbound says it “won’t give up” on lobbying efforts to try and secure sector specific support for the travel industry.
The association urged its 300 members to contact their MPs to ask them to hold the treasury and Department for Transport to account, on financial help and the “crippling effect” of the day two PCR test on the industry.
Members were issued with a template letter, with details of how businesses in the inbound tourism industry face an “unprecedented cliff edge” when furlough ends at the end of this month, and accused ministers of having “a colossal lack of understanding about the industry and its recovery”.
- The Government will miss its own 2021 Tourism Recovery Plan target for inbound tourism, which is set at almost £4bn above Oxford Economics’ £6.84bn prediction.
- The Government will fail to deliver a successful schedule of global events in 2022 such as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Festival UK 2022 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. “They will only be realised if we have a thriving inbound tourism industry in place,” it said.
- 49% of all inbound tour operators will cease by Christmas if support measures are not extended. “If the industry is severely depleted, this will directly impact the UK’s ability to stimulate demand to visit the UK and therefore rebuild the UK economy”, it said.
The letter also said the day two test that fully-vaccinated EU and US arrivals are required to take is the “single biggest barrier” preventing a meaningful recovery for the sector.
“Due to this test, potential visitors to the UK are cancelling their trips and instead opting to travel to Europe where testing for vaccinated travellers either isn’t required or the cost is very minimal,” it pointed out.
Members were asked to challenge their MPs’ responses from Treasury which have said valuable grants have been made available to the industry. “In reality, many have been excluded from claiming Leisure and Hospitality Restart Grants and systematically refused ARG grants,” it said.
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, said: “The inbound tourism sector can’t afford to accept the responses given to date from government regarding their lack of support for the industry.
“It’s clear that many departments, specifically the Treasury, don’t truly understand the gravity of removing furlough and the short and long term consequences of not providing sector specific support to the UK’s fifth largest export industry.
“Many parliamentarians across the UK have stood up for inbound, which has been absolutely invaluable, but we urgently need more to do so.
“With the Global Travel Taskforce review just weeks away, we have to make the Department for Transport fully aware of the consequences of maintaining the day two test for vaccinated EU and US arrivals. The UK is losing its international competitiveness and valuable export revenue, which would aid our economic recovery both in the short and long term.
“We’re committed to helping our members and the wider inbound tourism industry, and although the challenge we face may appear immense, we won’t give up and will continue to fight on their behalf.”