On Tuesday 23 March, the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, UKinbound hosted a virtual CEO Roundtable for business leaders from across the UK’s tourism industry, to discuss the challenges facing inbound tourism businesses in 2021/2022 and share best practise and collaborative ideas.
Attended by over 100 CEOs, managing directors and business owners, the 90-minute event included a State of the Nation presentation from David Edwards, founder of Scattered Cloud and previously head of research at VisitBritain, and an update from Duncan Parish, deputy director of tourism, international culture & diplomacy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The open discussion forum focused on key issues affecting both the survival and recovery of inbound tourism businesses, such as concerns of a stop-start restart, the implications of vaccine certificates, pent-up US demand, the return of EU visitors, extension of 2020 visitor visas, access to Government support and how to successfully attract tourists back to the UK.
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound commented “The UK’s inbound tourism industry has a long road to recovery but as we’ve discovered throughout the pandemic, we are stronger if we work together, which is why we held this event. Generating business, a stop-start restart and cashflow are all key concerns of inbound tourism businesses across the UK and many of the issues, examples and suggestions discussed today will directly feed into our response to the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce.
“As we look to the Summer season, we need Government to move quickly and implement a comprehensive reopening plan for inbound tourism, as it will take time for consumers to regain confidence to book a holiday to the UK and for the industry to prepare to reopen.
“However, we are still many months away from restarting international travel, and it will be many more before we see a significant recovery, which is why it is absolutely critical that the Government gets the restart right. Businesses and people’s livelihoods continue to be at risk. Only when all barriers at our borders are removed will our industry be able to begin its full recovery.”