To that end, we are preparing a submission to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s (DCMS) select committee enquiry into Promoting Britain Abroad which is being driven by the Tourism Recovery Plan that outlined the huge hit tourism has taken since 2019 when inbound tourism to the UK was worth approximately £28.4bn and employed four million people. Since then, inbound tourism spend has fallen to £6.2bn in 2020, a decline of 78% on 2019 results and it is currently forecast that in 2021, just £5.3bn will be spent by inbound tourists.
British luxury has always made a significant contribution to the UK’s tourism and travel industries through the international appeal of its luxury brands, hotels, restaurants and cultural experiences which are highly influential in attracting visitors to the UK. The rise in Shopping Tourism is well documented, and the value of sales of high-end goods to non-UK resident customers was around £4.5 billion in 2017.
A thriving tourism sector is symbiotic to a thriving luxury sector and doing everything possible to attract high-spending international visitors back to the UK will be crucial to the recovery. Anecdotally we are hearing from members that their European businesses are recovering faster than the UK and one of the factors that we hypothesise is driving that is the favourable tax-free shopping scheme in Europe, which was scrapped in the UK in January this year.
We are asking for members to share information on the following:
How you can help
- What are you seeing now in terms of sales and footfall from international visitors both in the UK and in your European stores?
- Is there evidence that your European store are recovering more quickly than the UK stores and what is driving that?
Additionally, in preparing Walpole’s response to the consultation on behalf of the sector, please provide input into the following:
- What needs to be done to re-establish the UK as a holiday destination for international travellers?
- What should Government and the tourism boards be doing to support the inbound tourism industry in its recovery?
- What will the impact on the UK’s hospitality, cultural and heritage sectors be if inbound tourism is slow to recover to pre-pandemic levels?
- What should the UK be doing to maintain its status as a ‘soft power superpower’ and further promote its culture and heritage on the global stage?
- How can the UK capitalise on its exit from the European Union?
- What are the biggest threats to the status of ‘soft power superpower’?
- Does the Tourism Recovery Plan go far enough to support the industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic?
- What are the biggest challenges to delivering the plan?
Please send your answers to Tania Pearson [email protected] by 5pm on 6th December.