One in three tourism businesses say they will go under without more help, new research shows

New research by Qa has highlighted the stark risks facing UK tourism – prompting a leading trade association to call for long-term financial support from the government.

Our latest Business Barometer survey for UKinbound laid bare the damage inflicted on the industry by coronavirus and the lockdown.

One in three tourism businesses stated they will have to stop trading in the next six months, even with the current Government support in place. Just over a quarter (27%) of respondents said their business will survive the coronavirus crisis.

The survey also asked members about their business activity in Q1 2020. This revealed:

  • 70% of respondents said bookings /visitor numbers /customer orders were down (by an average of 55%) compared to the same period last year
  • 75% saw a decrease in yield, by an average of 56%
  • just 11% of respondents said they were confident about the coming year – an all-time low.

‘No revenue until spring 2021’

After receiving the research, UKinbound said that the UK risks damaging and prolonging its economic recovery if the inbound tourism industry – worth nearly £23bn to the UK economy in 2018 – does not receive long term financial support alongside domestic and outbound tourism recovery plans.

UKinbound CEO Joss Croft said: “Over the past two months the Government has put in place vast financial support programmes which has been a lifeline for many tourism businesses (albeit some businesses are still falling through the gaps), but as we look to the recovery path and the lifting of domestic restrictions, it’s imperative that the needs of those businesses that rely wholly on international visitors aren’t forgotten.

“International travel is not likely to resume for many months and so we are most concerned about our tour operator and destination management company members as the majority will not be able to earn any revenue realistically until Spring 2021 at the earliest. 

“Inbound tourism generates almost £23 billion for the UK economy and we must do everything we can to safeguard this revenue stream.

“Furthermore, these businesses help to deliver on the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda as they promote and then take tourists to destinations all over the UK generating valuable revenue for regional economies.”