Abta has branded chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement "a missed opportunity" that fails to offer any additional support for the outbound travel sector.
Sunak on Wednesday (8 July) cut the rate of VAT on hospitality and tourism businesses from 20% to 5%, including for hotels, B&Bs, attractions and other tourism businesses.
He also announced a £10pp Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme to encourage people to eat out at select restaurants Monday to Wednesday, as well as a wider £1,000 per employee cushion for employers to encourage job retention when the furlough scheme ends in October.
But there was no bespoke support for the outbound travel sector. “We welcome the chancellor’s announcement, as it is good news for domestic tourism," said Abta.
"However, the lack of backing for outbound tourism represents a missed opportunity, this is a sector that directly provides 220,000 jobs right across the UK and is in urgent need of tailored support.
"We shall continue to press for additional support measures for the travel and tourism industry in the coming weeks.”
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said he was pleased the chancellor’s recovery plan recognised the value of the UK’s hospitality and inbound tourism sectors. "Cutting VAT from 20% to 5% and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme will deliver immediate positive impacts for businesses and consumers," said Croft.
"The Job Retention Bonus Scheme will also help tourism and hospitality businesses, but only those that survive into next year. These measures will not help the many businesses involved in inbound tourism who drive regional economies and jobs, and who are on the brink; longer-term support will still be required for these businesses, which have been hit even harder than domestic and outbound.”
Sir Patrick McLoughlin, chair of the British Tourist Authority, said the VAT could would help the UK’s inbound and domestic tourism sectors to "rebuild and compete for international visitors while encouraging domestic visitors to get out and enjoy the summer".
However, McLoughlin added: "The key for success will be ensuring we continue to attract domestic and international visitors through the autumn and extend the season."
Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said the announcements amounted to a "limited kick-start" for the sector.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union, said the announcement failed to offer any clarity on what support would be available to high street travel shops. “The chancellor must give more detail for the travel trade – not only to give hope to our members working in high street travel shops, but for the millions involved in the tourism industry more widely.
“I really hope that support for this sector is forthcoming as otherwise our much cherished high street shops may sadly become a thing of the past for many of our communities."