The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is warning that up to 180,000 jobs could be lost across the UK travel and tourism sector this year, if travel restrictions are re-imposed this winter.
The WTTC’s warning comes after an analysis revealed the impact caused by a further tightening of borders.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO revealed the findings which found that further damage could be made to the already embattled sector if new restrictions are imposed, such as the new potential measures which would see all travellers requiring a booster jab before they travel overseas.
Recent reports suggest this is being considered by ministers in an attempt to increase protection from COVID-19 for the fully vaccinated.
Currently only available to the over 50’s, so far, less than 20% of population in the UK have received the booster jab. This represents a minority of those able to travel, and such a move would once again leave millions unable to go abroad, with a huge economic impact as a result.
If wide scale restrictions, such as limiting travel only to those with the booster jab were enforced in 2022, more than half a million jobs could be at stake next year.
Simpson made it clear that: “The very real prospect of more than 500,000 people losing their jobs across the UK Travel & Tourism sector because of unnecessary travel restrictions is a huge concern to WTTC.”
She continued: “We cannot afford to let all the hard-earned progress we’ve made this year, slide back and be reversed. Too many people’s livelihoods are at risk, as well as the continuing economic recovery of the UK.”
Last year, WTTC research revealed 307,000 travel and tourism jobs were lost, causing misery to those whose livelihoods rely on a thriving sector.
Furthermore, a recent report by WTTC showed how severe restrictions imposed by the UK government, such as the damaging traffic light system, will see international visitor spend fall by almost 50% on 2020 figures, making the UK one of the worst performing countries in the world.
The WTTC fears that any further measures which would impact the travel and tourism sector, could make the UK a less attractive destination amongst travellers and in turn, the UK would lose competitiveness as a result.
Further analysis from WTTC also revealed that the government could see up to £5.3 billion wiped from the sector’s contribution to the economy before the end of 2021 if severe travel restrictions come back into force.
And the global tourism body fears that if punishing restrictions were to remain locked in place for much of next year, it could result in a loss of up to £21.7 billion from the UK economy.
Go to www.wttc.org for more.