As the UK tourism sector recovers from the pandemic, a Government minister has been told more must be done to encourage international visitors.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee meeting, which took place on 5 July, highlighted the UK’s decrease in visitor numbers compared with other countries.
Additionally, tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston was questioned on why Government spending on international marketing is at a low level.
In response, he said that while the £41 million British Tourism Association (BTA) budget is “relatively low” in contrast to other countries, making an immediate comparison is hard due to some UK regions doing their own promotion outside of the budget.
Flight delays and cancellations
Huddleston also blamed a shortage of airlift capacity for international tourists wishing to visit the UK, as he argued it is being used up by Britons travelling abroad.
He commented: “The airports are very busy with outbound travel because one of the first things Brits have wanted to do when the pandemic was over was get on a plane and have a beach holiday.
“Our mix of outbound versus inbound has had an impact in a way not every country had.”
So, what can be done to improve tourist numbers?
Huddleston said: “I would like us to spend more on international marketing, I think the return on investment is very compelling, but budgets are tight and there’s only so much to go around.”
What help is available for businesses?
Retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, all of which contribute greatly to the tourism sector, are eligible for support in 2022-23 through the Government’s temporary 50 per cent business rate discount. This is capped at a maximum of £110,000.
If you are a tourism business who wants to take on more employees, the Kickstart Scheme offers funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are risking long term unemployment.
Additionally, The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will be running for the events industry until September 2022, so far providing more than £100 million worth of cover, supporting more than £400 million of investment and protecting almost 15,000 jobs.
Looking for advice on your tourism business? Contact us today.