After the toughest year for the tourism industry, the inbound tourism forecast from VisitBritain shows signs of recovery, predicting a gradual increase in the value of overseas tourism from January to March 2021.
Although overall numbers are down compared to pre-Covid figures from 2019, VisitBritain is forecasting that inbound visits will increase by 73 per cent from 2020 to 2021, with visitor spending forecast to increase by 59 per cent.
Consumer sentiment research conducted by VisitBritain found that a third of international travellers said they were ‘in the mood’ to travel abroad in 2021, although one in five people said they were yet to choose a destination.
Short-haul tourism from Europe to the UK is predicted to recover quicker than long-haul tourism, with VisitBritain launching a marketing campaign in major European markets including Germany and France, to encourage bookings and reassure tourists that Britain is safe to return to.
VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ standard promises to provide reassurance for travellers that UK businesses are compliant with government guidelines on Covid-19 and have the required processes in place to keep visitors safe.
VisitBritain has also welcomed the government’s new ‘test to release for international travel’ scheme, which will allow international tourists arriving in the UK to pay for a Covid-19 test to reduce the time they need to self-isolate.
Tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: ‘This forecast shows our tourism industry can look ahead to 2021 with renewed optimism for recovery.
‘With the announcement of our ‘Test to Release’ international travel scheme, the backing of the Global Travel Taskforce report, and the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, we are committed to bringing the inbound tourism sector back to full strength. Let there be no doubt about this Government’s support for tourism.’
VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates, said: ‘This year, of course, has been very different with international travel largely at a standstill and businesses having lost months of vital trading. Beginning to see signs of some green shoots is encouraging news for the industry and the economy as we look to 2021 and beyond.’