Four out of five inbound tourism firms have been hit by cancellations after tougher travel rules were implemented due to the Omicron coronavirus variant, a new survey suggests.
The results of a poll by trade body UKinbound, seen by the PA news agency, indicates 79% of businesses in the sector have experienced bookings being withdrawn since the new strain emerged.
Three-quarters of cancellations were for December, ruining the industry’s hopes of receiving a boost over Christmas.
One business was on the cusp of receiving its first international visitors in 20 months, but these trips have been axed.
Tour operators, accommodation providers and tourist attractions across the UK were among those surveyed.
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft described the outcome of the survey as “thoroughly depressing”.
She said: “International consumer confidence to travel to the UK has taken another huge hit, and the UK’s kneejerk decisions and lack of support for businesses that bear the consequences, means the recovery of this industry has already been derailed.
“Businesses need emergency support. The summer season was all but lost for them, they have depleted their cash reserves and maxed out loans. They have no wiggle room left.
“Government support has all but ceased but we still have significant restrictions in place, meaning the industry cannot trade its way to recovery.
Tougher rules introduced due to Omicron mean travellers entering the UK must have evidence of a negative pre-departure coronavirus test, and self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a post-arrival test.
The red list has also been resurrected, meaning arrivals from 11 African countries must spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in