UK suffers lack of inbound travel as more Brits holiday abroad, says WTTC

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Outbound flights from the UK to countries on the amber list have taken off in July while inbound travel is still lagging, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

New data collected since the requirement to quarantine on return was dropped (with the exception of France) shows airline tickets booked for international trips out of the UK increased an average of 24% in the week to 13th July, compared to the previous week. Weekly flight tickets for future travel from the UK to traditional destinations have exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The most popular destinations are Greece, the Bahamas, Croatia and Spain.

Despite strong domestic demand, the lack of inbound travel is causing concerns for the hospitality industry and the wider economy, which could lose £639 million per day. Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President WTTC, said: “The UK’s economic recovery is going to continue to be hampered by the lack of inbound international visitors while UK travellers are leaving the UK in increasing numbers. Whilst staycations are helping boost the economy, it is not nearly enough to replace the £639 million which is being lost every day. If the situation continues, the UK will lose out on much needed revenues which international travel provides, benefitting every level of the economy far beyond the Travel & Tourism sector.

WTTC’s 2021 Economic Impact Report (EIR) states that spending from international visitor added £35.6 billion to the UK economy in 2019, before dropping to £10.1 billion in 2020.