Statement made by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Minister for Arts and Heritage.
I am repeating the following Written Ministerial Statement made today in the other place by my Honourable Friend, the Minister for Media, Tourism and Creative Industries, Julia Lopez MP:
I am pleased to publish today an Update Report on progress made against the objectives set out in the government’s Tourism Recovery Plan.
Tourism is a significant economic, cultural and social asset to the UK. The sector is a powerful engine for economic growth and job creation in every part of the UK. Pre-pandemic it directly employed 1.7 million people, supported 230,000 SMEs and contributed £74 billion in Gross Value Added – 4% of the UK’s total. As an industry with long-term growth prospects (forecast at 3% a year globally to 2030), international reach, and a presence in every constituency, tourism has a major role to play in the Government’s wider Union, levelling up, and Global Britain agendas.
The Tourism Recovery Plan was published in 2021 in recognition of the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK’s visitor economy. The Plan set out a framework for joint Government and sector development. In the short to medium term, it set out the ambition to recover pre-pandemic levels of domestic and international visitor volume and spending. In the medium to long term, the remaining objectives focused on supporting the growth of a productive, innovative, resilient, sustainable, and accessible visitor economy that benefits every nation and region of the UK.
We are now three years on from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first national lockdown and the start of Government support for businesses affected by closures and social distancing measures.
This Update Report sets out the progress made against the Plan’s six objectives, highlights ongoing work, and sets out the future actions the Government will take to continue supporting the sector as it not only recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic but also faces the economic challenges that have arisen since the publication of the Plan in 2021.
The Report sets out the mixed picture of recovery in the sector. In total, over £37 billion in support through grants, tax relief and loans was provided to the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors to help them survive through the long periods of uncertainty and adversity. The sector is, however, still facing economic challenges. Domestic tourism is recovering well, but international tourism is lagging behind the targets set in the Plan. Behind this mixed picture of recovery, there is huge long-term potential for economic growth, which is why the Government re-commits in this Report to support the sector through the framework of the Tourism Recovery Plan – to help it grow, thrive and, in turn, boost the UK economy. More broadly, the Prime Minister has promised to halve inflation this year and grow the economy, both of which will support the sector.
Overall, the Report indicates that good progress has been made against the objectives of the Tourism Recovery Plan. It acknowledges that there is further to go to support the full recovery of the visitor economy in the short term and to work with industry to deliver on the medium- to long-term ambition to build a more resilient, innovative, sustainable and inclusive sector that benefits every corner of the UK.
A copy of the Update Report on the Tourism Recovery Plan will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.