UKinbound has presented the government with three key critical asks ahead of the prime minister’s expected announcement on the re-opening of international travel, due in April.
The asks were included as a key component of the association’s global travel taskforce submission.
- Create a risk-based reopening framework – including both short-haul and long-haul travel and the removal of quarantine via the introduction of digitalised entry documentation.
- A bilateral travel agreement with the US – our most valuable inbound travel market, where there is significant pent-up demand to holiday in the UK by vaccinated Americans.
- A four nations approach to lifting restrictions – international visitors expect and want to visit multiple countries in the UK and different restrictions could mean a trip to the UK is not taken.
UKinbound’s response citied that the industry cannot afford a stop-start recovery, as this would shatter international confidence in travelling to the UK, and that domestic tourism will not make up the revenue gap left by international visitors.
International tourists spend on average £685 a day in the UK, domestic tourists spend just a third of this, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The need to remove quarantine for all but those arriving from high-risk source markets was highlighted, along with a fundamental need to ensure that UK borders are resourced adequately to ensure smooth processing of passengers, which means the digitalisation of entry documents such as Covid-19 certificate, testing and passenger locator forms.
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, commented: “We have one chance to get the reopening of international travel right and the Prime Minister’s announcement on April 12th will be make or break for the inbound tourism industry.
“How the taskforce communicates its findings and suggestions will fundamentally shape how successful the restart of international travel is.
“We 100 per cent support a risk-based approach to reopening, but our industry simply cannot afford for just short haul to come back, or a stop start approach similar to what we saw last summer.
“There is confidence to visit the UK in markets such as the US, and there is only a short window of opportunity to maximise this competitive position.”
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