As we head towards the August bank holiday weekend, it is timely to reflect on the importance of our tourism industry in what has been a year like no other. It has been fantastic to see businesses reopening as restrictions are lifted, to see our £127bn industry getting back on its feet, people enjoying holidays at home and the reports of upticks in bookings particularly for our campsites, caravan and holiday parks and self-catering accommodation. Our latest weekly research shows that 30 per cent of people surveyed, representing 16.2 million UK adults, either intend to or have taken an overnight domestic trip between July and September.
Since being given the green light to reopen, businesses and attractions have been working to welcome customers safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great visitor experience. More than 35,000 businesses have signed up to our “We’re Good To Go” industry standard and consumer mark giving customers, staff and local residents confidence and reassurance.
Tourism puts its fat on during summer and tightens its belt in winter. Almost a third of domestic holiday spending usually takes place in July and August, £4.6bn in 2019. However, one swallow does not make a summer. Businesses lost Easter, the May half-term, two bank holidays and June. Those months are crucial for the industry and many businesses still think they will not survive unless we can extend the season.
Our latest forecast is for a 49 per cent decline in domestic tourism spending in Britain this year equalling a £44.9bn loss to the economy. When looking at inbound tourism, spending is forecast to drop 63 per cent bringing an estimated £19.7bn loss to the economy in 2020. Most of our major markets – the US, China, the Gulf and France – are now subject to quarantines.
We are going to need flocks of visitors through autumn and the winter to support businesses, underscoring the importance of extending the season this year and attracting European visitors for short breaks. The industry will be looking to the August bank holiday weekend for a critical late summer lift. Last year’s August bank holiday was estimated to have brought a £2.1bn boost to
the economy with record numbers