Nearly nine out of 10 companies involved in the UK’s inbound tourism industry expect to make job cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey suggests.
The research was conducted by trade association UKinbound, which called for more Government support to avoid “the collapse of previously successful businesses”.
It polled 59 tour operators and firms providing services such as transfers, hotel bookings and excursions.
Some 88% of respondents anticipate making between 25% and 100% of their staff redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 53% expect their businesses to last no more than six months.
Three out of five (60%) plan to cut jobs next month when employers must resume paying National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed staff.
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: “Those tourism businesses that rely wholly on international visitors for their livelihoods are on their knees.
“The risk of widespread redundancies and the collapse of previously successful businesses is a very real threat without further Government support.
“Our inbound tourism industry is a vital part of the UK economy and we simply cannot recover or level up our economy without the value that international tourism brings to all regions of the UK.”
International visitors to the UK spent £28.4 billion last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Stephen Broughton, owner of Mountain Goat Tours – which runs tours in northern England and North Wales for domestic and international tourists, said: “We are already over half-way through the tourism season and many people will be reluctant to travel overseas for some time.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to increase our share of domestic visitors this year, but social-distancing requirements on transport is also making this side of the business unviable.
“An extension of the job retention scheme until the tourism season starts again next March would be fantastic and would make all the difference to the survival of our business.
“Our most valuable asset is our staff and we are in an area where tourism is the main source of employment. We need to do everything we can to maintain a livelihood for them.”