Travel restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have cost the UK economy an estimated £7billion lost revenue.
Research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the economic cost of ‘ineffective’ travel restrictions introduced by the UK government in the final weeks of 2021 as Omicron spread rapidly around the world.
The WTTC said the £7bn loss to the UK economy was due to a “massive drop” in contributions from the country’s travel industry.
The impact of Omicron-related travel restrictions is estimated to have cost the global economy a total of around £25.7 billion last year.
Julia Simpson, WTTC Chief Executive, said: “Imposing unnecessary travel restrictions to ‘deal’ with Omicron was not backed by science and cost the UK economy £7bn in lost revenue.
“Travel is opening up all over the world. If the UK wants to start fixing its economy, it needs to keep the borders open. »
According to the 2021 WTTC Economic Impact Report, the number of people employed in the UK travel and tourism sector fell from 4.27 million in 2019 to 3.96 million in 2020, a fall of 7.2% year-on-year.
More positively, WTTC research suggests that global travel spending could reach $8.6 trillion in 2022, which would be just 6.4% below pre-Covid levels.