Tourism businesses and the Treasury are losing an astonishing £200m per day as British and foreign travellers stay at home.
VisitBritain, the government agency that promotes UK tourism, has revealed a total loss to tourism of £146bn over 2020 and 2021.
In a tweet, VisitBritain reported: “Highlighting the longer-term impact on the industry and economy – we estimate a loss in domestic and inbound tourism spending in 2020 and 2021 combined of £146 BILLION.”
The loss is calculated at £97.1bn in domestic tourism spending in Britain and a reduction of inbound tourism spending of £48.6bn.
It works out at over £2,300 per second around the clock over the two years. Around one-sixth would normally flow to the Treasury as VAT.
Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said: “These figures show how devastating the last 21 months have been for tourism, the UK’s fifth biggest industry.
“Tourism was hit first, hit hardest and will take the longest of all sectors to recover, especially those businesses and attractions which are heavily dependent on inbound visitors who will not come back to the UK in meaningful numbers until 2024.
“We know that when visitors were able to revisit attractions they had a fantastic time and spent precious time and money, but even the best ‘staycation’ effect wasn’t able to repair the balance sheets of some of our best loved and most iconic attractions.
“For many tourism businesses they are still in survival mode rather than recovery.”
Visit Britain says that in the last “normal” December (2019) and January (2020), there were 6.5 million overseas visitors, with spending of £4.bn.
With increased travel restrictions imposed by the UK and other governments, both figures are expected to be close to zero this month and next.
Leading tourist attractions in London, including the Natural History Museum and Sir John Soane’s Museum, are closed because of staff shortage due to the high level of Covid-19 infections.
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