WTTC: UK Expected to Lose £22 Billion Due to Lack of Tourists Amid COVID-19

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The United Kingdom may lose about £22 billion by the end of the year due to the low number of tourists visiting the country, due to the UK’s and other international travel bans imposed this year as a way to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus.

The financial loss has been calculated by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) based on the number of tourists visiting the UK in 2020, which has significantly fallen.

According to a report by the Council, it is estimated that the amount spent by the international tourists could drop by 78 per cent in the UK economy, which is equal to the loss of £60 million per day and £420 million per week. As a result, nearly three million jobs created by the travel and tourism industry in the UK have been put at risk.

Meanwhile, in 2019, about four million jobs, or said in other words 11 per cent of the UK’s total workforce was supported by travel and tourism, a sector that earlier brought an amount of almost £200 billion GDP to the UK economy, WTTC report stated.

Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), stated that the latest WTTC data clearly shows the economic problems across the UK. According to Guevara, the UK economy could lose alone £22 billion, equal to 60 million pounds a day, and that could take years to recover. Besides, this loss could also lead to weakening London’s position as the centre for business and leisure travel.

We urgently need to replace stop-start quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country. This investment will be significantly less than the impact of blunt quarantines which have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences,” President Guevara emphasised.

Among other things, she also said that the targeted test and tracing programs could reinforce the tourists’ confidence to travel and it could enable the restoration of “air corridors” amid countries and regions with similar COVID-19 cases numbers.

Restoring business class travel between the world’s top financial centres, such as London and New York, would act as an engine to help kick-start the global economic recovery. International coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel – for business and leisure trips – would provide a vital shot in the arm for the Travel & Tourism sector. It would benefit airlines and hotels, travel agents and tour operators and revitalise the millions of jobs in the supply chain which are dependent upon international travel across the Atlantic,” she added.

In 2019, the UK reached nearly £28.2 billion on international travel spending, according to the WTTC report. It was estimated that the international spending was essential for the UK economy in 2019 as each month, the country reached in total £2.35 billion, or £77.3 million a day, £540 million a week.

Meanwhile, in the period between 2016 and 2018, tourists from the United States and France were the main source of income to the UK, followed by Germany with 9 per cent, and Ireland and Spain with 7 per cent.

Data collected from 2018, show that 85 per cent of tourism revenues in London is brought by international tourists spending, while the other 15 per cent was generated by inside tourists. The US is ranked the most important source of income with 15 per cent of arriving tourists, followed by France with 9 per cent, Germany with 8 per cent, and the last is Spain with 7 per cent of arrivals.

WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, among other things, highlighted that in 2019 the travel and tourism sector as one of the main pillars in the economy supported the creation of one in ten jobs, or 330 million in total.

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