New data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows the UK fell out of the top five biggest tourism markets in 2020.
Figures suggest the hospitality sector suffering a punishing GDP fall of 63 per cent last year.
The fall from fifth place in 2019 to eighth position in 2020 saw it sustain one of the biggest collapses of the ten largest tourism markets, due to continuing travel restrictions, and what the WTTC called “unnecessary and crushing quarantines”.
Meanwhile, the US maintained its position as the largest global tourism market, despite suffering a 41 per cent fall in GDP last year.
China also kept its position as second biggest tourism market, but experienced a harder GDP fall of 60 per cent, with Japan slightly improving its ranking - from fourth to third - shouldering a GDP fall nearly half that of China, of just 37 per cent.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC chief executive, said: “With positive news from across Europe about the gradual reopening of borders we hope to see many more countries adopt a more risk-based approach.
“This will restore mobility safely through rapid testing and health and hygiene protocols to support the vaccination rollout.”
She added: “However, the UK was one of the most heavily impacted of the major tourism markets, falling out of the top five to eighth position due to the damaging and ineffective quarantines and unhelpful continuing travel restrictions.
“Despite the restrictions designed to curb the spread of the pandemic, the US and China maintained their respective positions as first and second biggest tourism markets.”