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ETOA plans for tourism recovery in UK in conjunction with UKinbound

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Britain and Ireland Marketplace in person, 28 January 2022; Britain and Ireland Marketplace online, 1 February 2022.

The Britain and Ireland Marketplace BIM, which takes place on Friday 28 January at the O2 Intercontinental and online on Tuesday 1 February is posting record numbers of attendees.

The hybrid event, co-organised by ETOA and UKinbound, has achieved these high levels of attendees despite the number of inbound visitors to the UK having suffered a catastrophic fall over the last two years.

In new data issued by the two organisations, 87% of tour operators have seen a decline of over 50% in their business.

This disguises the severity of the situation,” said Tom Jenkins CEO of ETOA. “These figures include outbound travel. The figure for those companies who sell to visitors coming into the UK would be closer to 90% suffering a 90% decline. Over the period 2020-21, nearly £50 billion of export earnings have gone. This was highly perishable product: you might sell last years’ car: you cannot sell last year’s holiday. That money has gone.

“But the bookings we have received for BIM proves there is resilience in the market. Participants at this event are there to confirm last minute business for 2022 and place bookings for 2023. Attendance is 50% up on pre-Covid levels is heartening. ETOA members in North America have made it clear that there is unprecedented demand for a European Vacation this year, and the UK will be part of this recovery. We have also received unprecedented levels of support from Visit England, Visit Wales, Visit Scotland and Tourism Ireland. Their contributions have enabled over 140 suppliers to register and we expect many more in the coming days.

“The hybrid format also enables BIM to deploy a wide range of buyers. The physical event is there for those who want and can attend in person. The online workshop enables buyers to attend from every market, irrespective of their location.

170 individual purchasing managers are attending over the two days, from locations as far apart as California and Shanghai.

Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound, said: “This has been a dire two years for the industry, but I am delighted that so many buyers are attending this joint UKinbound and ETOA event. This gives some guarded optimism both for the coming season and for the recovery in 2023.”

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