But UKinbound research shows 2022 will still be very challenging
UKinbound has released results that show business confidence has risen to pre-pandemic levels.
The association’s Q1 Business Barometer Member Survey, complied by Qa Research, indicated that 56% of inbound tourism businesses are confident about bookings, visitor revenue and customer orders for the next 12 months, a figure not recorded since July 2019.
The results come following the removal of all restrictions for vaccinated international arrivals into the UK from 4am today, Friday 11 February. Vaccinated arrivals are no longer required to take a Covid-19 test pre-departure or on arrival in the UK.
However, although confidence across the inbound tourism industry, the UK’s fifth largest export, is returning, 2022 bookings are not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels for most businesses this year. The survey revealed that –
- Business in Q1 is expected to be down for almost four in five inbound tourism businesses – 78% of businesses expect bookings/visitor number/customer orders for Q1 2022 to be lower than the same time pre-pandemic
- January – March revenue is expected to be down by an average of 67% – 72% of business expect revenue in Q1 2022 to be down compared to the same time pre-pandemic, by an average of 67%
- Spring/Summer business is expected to be down 46% – Over three quarters (77%) of businesses expect bookings/visitor number/customer orders for April – September 2022 will be down by an average of 46% compared to pre-pandemic
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound commented “After a two-year hiatus it’s fantastic that business confidence is finally returning, and that the UK is now open for business. Our members are eager to welcome back international visitors with open arms and start trading their way to recovery, but we can’t let confidence levels mask reality. 2022 is going to be tough. Inbound tourism businesses have taken on huge debts during the pandemic and our research shows that revenue this year will still be significantly down on 2019.
Inbound international tourism to the UK is a critical component that will accelerate the UK’s economic recovery, but it’s also a competitive industry, and the UK can’t be complacent. It is vital that the UK Government continues investing in the promotion of Britain abroad and puts in place policies and funding that support the recovery and growth of businesses across the sector.”