UKinbound: Government must help boost tourism in ‘critical six months'
UKinbound has said the government must use the Spring budget to introduce tourism-boosting measures if it is to meet its own goals for inbound visitor levels.
The trade association stressed the next six months would be critical for the hospitality and tourism sectors and urged the government to implement measures such as reintroducing VAT free shopping for international visitors, reforming business rates and introducing schemes to help young people visit the UK.
Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound said: "The government has set a target for itself to increase the levels of inbound visitors and spend to the UK by the end of this year to the levels seen in 2019. However, in the current climate, this is exceptionally challenging and has been exacerbated by the reintroduction of testing restrictions placed on arrivals from mainland China - a key market for inbound tourism.
"The upcoming budget presents a fantastic opportunity to implement policies that will not only enable government and the industry to reach these targets but surpass them. The next six months are critical to our industry's recovery and its ability to bring significant new export revenue into the country, and taxation to the Treasury, which will directly aid the UK's balance sheet, and crucially support the Government's Global Britain ambitions."
The key measures outlined by UKinbound are:
• Reintroducing VAT free shopping for international visitors, which would generate £4.4 billion over two years for the UK economy.
• Reforming business rates and extending support for retail businesses beyond April 2023.
• Creating a new Youth Group Travel Scheme for under 18s.
• Expanding and reforming the Youth Mobility Scheme (for 18- to 30-year-olds)
• Introducing a new five-year visitor visa which would ensure our visa and entry systems are globally competitive
• Increasing VisitBritain's budget so it can increase its efforts to successfully market the UK
• Freezing Air Passenger Duty (APD) for the remainder of the parliamentary term