Absent tourists are costing Britain £60m a day

Empty London street

The collapse of international travel and tourism could knock the British economy by as much as £22 billion this year, according to industry estimates.

Spending by tourists could drop by as much as 78 per cent compared with a year ago, or about £60 million every day.

The World Travel & Tourism Council warned yesterday that the pandemic threatened London’s status as a centre for travel, be it business or pleasure, “for years to come”.

Last year overseas travellers spent £28.2 billion in the UK, according to the organisation — 17 per cent of all tourism expenditure. The rest was generated by domestic tourists.

Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of the council, said that the figures revealed the pain for millions of households dependent on tourism.

Transatlantic air travel capacity between Britain and the United States is only 20 per cent of its level a year ago.

Less than a third of businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry anticipate growth in the autumn, according to a poll by Barclays. On average, the companies believe that their earnings will fall by 41 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

Ministers “need to replace stop-start quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country,” Ms Guevara said.