UK Tourism spending ‘worth just half of pre-pandemic level’

UK tourism is set for a slow recovery from the pandemic, with spending by holidaymakers this year expected to be just half the level of 2019.

Forecasts by the VisitBritain agency indicate that domestic tourism will be worth £51.4bn in 2021, down from £91.6bn two years ago.

Its forecast for spending by foreign tourists in the UK is £6.2bn, less than a quarter of the £28.4bn in 2019.

The predictions come as UK tourism chiefs prepare for a summit on Tuesday.

VisitBritain and VisitEngland are bringing industry leaders together – some in person, some virtually – to discuss priorities for helping the sector to recover and rebuild.

Last year, the domestic tourism industry shrank by about two-thirds as coronavirus restrictions forced the cancellation or postponement of millions of people’s travel plans. According to the tourism industry, that represented a £58bn loss to the economy.

Despite the gloomy forecasts for this year, tourism analysts have predicted that demand for UK holidays is likely to outstrip supply this summer, with many holidaymakers unable or unwilling to brave foreign travel amid continuing restrictions.

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