UK tourist industry scrambles to avert crisis

27 September 2001 by
UK tourist industry scrambles to avert crisis

The terrorist attacks on the USA have prompted a flurry of activity designed to boost UK tourism, already damaged by the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

The British Tourist Authority (BTA) is monitoring closely the impact of the attacks and has postponed or cancelled many autumn marketing campaigns.

It fears the two crises will shave nearly 20%, or £2.5b, from the amount overseas visitors spend in UK to £10.8b this year.

The number of long-haul visitors to the UK is expected to fall by at least 15-25% during the final quarter of the year. But travel from Europe is expected to recover more quickly.

And the £2.5b figure does not take into account the impact of any further developments of the international crisis.

BTA chairman David Quarmby predicted that 75,000 UK tourism jobs would be lost, out of a total of 400,000.

The British Hospitality Association warned that jobs and businesses would be lost unless tourism promotions were shifted from the international to the domestic market.

"We must look to boosting our home market for the immediate future. If we can encourage more British people to holiday at home, we will be able to save jobs and minimise the damage caused by the inevitable drop in visitors from overseas," said chief executive Bob Cotton.

Tourism minister Kim Howells, who has held a series of meetings with tourist organisations, has promised speedy action to minimise the impact the US tragedy has on UK tourism. He has pledged to deliver a tourism recovery plan to culture minister Tessa Jowell "soon".

The London Tourist Board has also set up a recovery group to research the effects of the terrorist attacks on the capital's £8b-a-year tourism industry and to devise a long-term strategy.

by Angela Frewin and Ben Walker

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