Coronavirus travel restrictions are affecting UK tourism more than most countries across the world, new figures show.
Spending by international visitors to the UK is forecast to plunge by nearly 50% this year compared with 2020, the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said.
This is making the UK “one of the worst performing countries in the world”, according to the organisation.
The WTTC noted that the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the UK’s economy may rise year on year by about 32% in 2021, which is broadly in line with the rest of the global average.
But that partial recovery is being driven by the boom in domestic holidays, which is not enough to achieve a full economic recovery and save millions of jobs under threat, the WTTC said.
An estimated 307,000 jobs in the sector were lost last year due to the pandemic.
The WTTC said the UK’s “destructive” testing and quarantine policies mean it is lagging behind other countries such as the US and China, which are “set to see a rise in inbound international travel spending this year”.
Julia Simpson, WTTC president and chief executive, said: ““WTTC research shows that while the global travel and tourism sector is beginning to recover, the UK continues to suffer big losses due to continuing travel restrictions that are tougher than the rest of Europe.
“Despite government announcements, the UK still has a red list, costly PCR tests and a requirement for day-two tests which simply put people off travel.
“Just as the world opens up, the UK has more requirements for the double vaccinated than our neighbours.”