To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their decision not to provide financial support to inbound tour operators; what discussions they have had with representatives of the inbound tourism sector regarding the reduction in their business arising from the COVID-19 pandemic; and what they estimate the impact of that business reduction to be on employment in (1) the inbound tourism sector, and (2) popular tourist destinations in the UK.
We are aware that the travel sector has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19, and that these are extremely difficult conditions for inbound tour operators as well as popular tourist destinations in the UK.
Inbound tour operators can access a range of Government support measures, including the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes, as well as various government-backed loans. Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly during this period. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed.
While my Department has made no specific estimate of the impact on employment within these two parts of the sector, the Minister for Tourism is in regular contact with stakeholders, such as UKInbound, to closely monitor the impact on inbound tourism.
On 24 November, the Global Travel Taskforce report outlined 14 steps that the Government could take to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. Following the report’s publication, the Transport Secretary announced a new ‘Test to Release’ system for international arrivals from countries that are not on the Travel Corridor list, which will be launched on 15 December.
We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.