UK government launches tourism recovery plan

A picture of Whitby

A new rail pass and vouchers for popular tourist attractions are at the heart of a plan to return UK domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023.

The National Lottery will offer £10 million worth of vouchers to encourage people to visit sites outside of the peak summer season. A rail “staycationers” pass will also appear later this year.

As part of the overall plan, the government also wants to get better at collecting data relating to the sector with the idea of creating a tourism data hub to give the sector access to robust, accessible and timely data.

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. 

The government will also launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England with the aim of looking at both the benefits of short-term holiday rentals and their impact on local communities.

The plan also looks ahead to 2022 when the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Festival UK 2022 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will all take place. An additional bank holiday is planned for the jubilee while a £24 million Business and Tourism Programme will run alongside the Commonwealth Games to promote Birmingham, the West Midlands and the UK.

“Our brilliant tourism sector is one of our country’s greatest assets, making a huge contribution to our economy and delivering jobs across all communities,” Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP said.

“This is why we’ve provided it with £25 billion in support so far during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tourism Recovery Plan is our blueprint for how the sector can build back better from the pandemic, even faster than forecasts predict.

It’s been a challenging year for the tourism sector, especially for our cities, but I know they stand ready to welcome visitors back and I encourage everyone to rediscover the UK’s fantastic tourism offer."