The government have published a Tourism Recovery Plan that aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023 - both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.
Pre-pandemic, England looked set to hit 100 million domestic overnight trips in 2020. In 2019, 41 million international visitors came to the UK for business or leisure, spending over £28 billion whilst here and putting the UK in the top 5 countries globally for inbound visitor spending.
However the sector has been hugely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with cities amongst the most impacted areas. £19 million has also been earmarked for marketing campaigns to promote cities and towns across the country, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign already underway.
The Government has acted to protect jobs and businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors, which have received over £25 billion in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks, including £5 billion in VAT cuts.
The government is determined to level-up the country and to ensure that every region is reaching its full potential. A root and branch review of how tourism at a regional and local level is funded and supported is already underway, focusing on the important role played by Destination Management Organisations, and will report in the summer.
Commenting on the new strategy James said, “With our stunning coastline, countryside, wildlife, and attractions, tourism is an important part of North West Norfolk’s economy. I welcome these plans that tap into the new focus on staycations and the ambitious target to recover domestic tourism back to pre-pandemic levels next year. “
A new rail pass and vouchers for popular tourist attractions are at the heart of a plan to return domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023.
A rail pass for “staycationers” will be launched later this year, helping to make it easier and more sustainable for domestic tourists to get around the country. The new pass will build on the success of the BritRail pass, which is sold through VisitBritain and currently gives international visitors flexible travel across the country, as well as providing discounted entry to tourism attractions.
A £10 million voucher scheme will be launched by The National Lottery this autumn to encourage trips beyond the peak summer season, with players having the chance to claim vouchers to redeem at tourist attractions across the UK between September 2021 and March 2022.
The government will explore how tourism data collected at the border can support the sector and we will look to create a tourism data hub to give the sector access to robust, accessible and timely data. The hub could track consumer trends in travel, such as the growth in 'active tourism' such as watersports and hiking, and booking of sustainable tourism experiences. The data gathered will help inform policy and marketing whilst working to improve visitor experience.
The government will develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan later this year to put the UK at the forefront of the global discussion on sustainable travel.
This will look at further measures to reduce the impact of tourism on our environment while balancing the needs of local communities with the economic benefits generated by tourism. The Plan will build on the significant investments in sustainable tourism already underway, such as the completion of the England Coast Path - the longest of its type in the world - and the almost £1 billion investment in electric vehicle charging hubs at service stations.
The government will also launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. This will consider the benefits of the rise of short term holiday rentals in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the English tourism economy, as well as its impact on local economies and communities. The consultation will help us target further government interventions in the future and create an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub.
Major events in 2022
The plan also looks ahead to 2022, which will be a massive year for the UK showcasing the nation on the world stage with a triumvirate of major events:
- Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with a commemorative bank holiday.
- Festival UK 2022
- Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with a £24 million Business and Tourism Programme
These events will promote the very best of Britain at home and abroad.
For more information on where to visit this summer see:
See ‘What’s on in 2021’ in Britain
See cultural exhibitions specifically in Britain
See more information on what’s new in England cities this summer