The UK’s Tourism Minister has told the travel trade he’s happy to hear their views on how the industry can work its way through the COVID crisis, telling WTM Virtual:
“All ideas are welcome.”
In the WTM Virtual session entitled: How Does the Smaller World of Tourism Look to You, Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, said inbound tourism has dropped by 90% but domestic tourism varied “massively” this year, with occupancy in some cities in “single digits or teens”, while destinations such as Devon and Cornwall at up to 90% in the summer.
Huddleston said a key priority is to get the inbound business and events industry up and running again. “Bringing in business travel hugely benefits tourism as well.”
A Global Travel Workforce, set up by the Government, will report into the Prime Minister shortly, with recommendations on how to get the sector up and running again.
“The degree of engagement we have had with the industry has been phenomenal. Thank you to the sector for the incredible engagement we have had.”
In addition, Huddleston said the Government is:
“Working on a tourism recover plan – all ideas welcome. Let’s see what we can do. I’m happy to talk about ideas – but I can’t promise they will happen.”
But he warned: “Government can’t do everything that everyone asks. We won’t be able to save every job, as the Chancellor has said.
Fellow speaker ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer repeated his call for industry-focused sector support from the UK Government, saying more than 20 companies have failed, including big names such as Shearings, Cruise and Maritime Voyages and STA Travel.
“The fear is that there may be more to come,” he said, adding: “We can only go for so long living on thin air.”