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COVID-19 Update 15th December 2020

  • VisitBritain Forecasts

VisitBritain has published a new set of predictions for inbound and domestic tourism.

    • Inbound

VisitBritain’s forecast for 2021 is for a gradual increase in the value of inbound tourism during January to March 2021 with a step-change heading into Easter and the spring, if national restrictions are eased as expected, particularly from short-haul European markets. Overall, VisitBritain is forecasting 16.9 million inbound visits and spending of £9.0 billion in 2021

While a significant increase on this year, visitor number will only be 41% of the 40.9 million visits in 2019 while expenditure will be only 32% of the £28.4 billion the UK received in 2019

    • Domestic

The domestic tourism forecast from 2020 has been updated central scenario for England of £28.5 billion in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 63% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in England was £75.9bn. This comprises £7.8bn from overnight tourism, down from £19.5bn in 2019, and £20.7bn from day trips, down from £56.5bn in 2019.

VisitEngland’s forecast for 2021 is for a recovery to £51.6bn in domestic tourism spending, which is up 82% compared to 2020 but still only 68% of the level of spending seen in 2019. This comprises £14.1bn in domestic overnight tourism spending (28% down on 2019) and £37.6bn in leisure day trip spending (33% down on 2019).,England%20was%20%C2%A375.9bn.


  • Test to Release Q&A

As you will be aware, the Test to Release option for people entering the country from non- Air Corridors countries came into effect today  whereby people can reduce their quarantine time from 10 days to 5 days by undertaking a test. To help accommodation providers  that are hosting guests using the Test to Release system, DCMS has produced the attached Q&A that addresses the how to provide services to these customers and the rules that cover their stay.

Also, DfT sent round a clarification note today saying that, for people using Test to Release system, the five day waiting period before being tested starts once the passenger leaves the country they’ve been in that warrants self-isolation, not when they arrive into England. So people travelling from countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia who can take 24 hours to travel to the UK may only need to wait four days before being tested.

In addition, the Government has also published a link to the private healthcare companies that will undertake tests under this system.


  • Updated Tier Posters

The Posters with the rules and restrictions that apply in Tier level have been updated to incorporate all the new changes. As mentioned previously, these are an excellent quick reference guide for keeping both staff and customers aware of the rules in their area.


  • Income Tax And NI Exemption For Employer-Reimbursed Tests

HMRC has published a policy paper with proposals  that where an employer reimburses an employee for the cost of a relevant coronavirus antigen test there will be no National Insurance contributions liability. The government also  intends to legislate for an Income Tax exemption for employer reimbursements of the cost of relevant coronavirus antigen tests in the next Finance Bill.

This measure will have effect from 25 January 2021 until 5 April 2021.


  • EU Settlement Scheme Covid Disruption Guidance

This will be of interest to businesses with employees from the EU, EEA and Turkey  who are struggling to complete the paperwork or meet the necessary conditions to stay in the UK due to coronavirus. The Home Office has published a series of three guidance papers of what these employees need to do if they are facing problems

First there is guidance for EUSS applicants, both inside and outside the UK, who’s application has been affected by restrictions associated with coronavirus. The guidance explains what to do if:

    • If you need to provide alternative evidence of identity and nationality, or entitlement to apply from outside the UK
    • If you’re required to provide further information when making an application
    • If your continuous qualifying period in the UK has been affected

Secondly, separate guidance has been produced for applicants for documentation issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 who have been affected by Covid restrictions. This includes guidance on:

    • If you need to provide alternative evidence of identity and nationality
    • If your continuous residence in the UK has been affected
    • Furloughed workers
    • Retention of worker or self-employed status
    • Self-sufficiency and access to benefits

The third one is guidance that has been produced for Turkish ECAA applicants, both inside and outside of the UK, who need to apply for leave and are affected by restrictions associated with coronavirus.


  • Care Home Lateral Test Guidance

Finally, I’ve attached a link to guidance that the Government has produced for Care Homes on how to undertake establish a lateral testing regime so that people can safely visit their relatives in ahigh vulnerability setting. While this is not directly applicable to the tourism industry, it does highlight the need for versions of this guidance need to be developed for hospitality and tourism businesses so that they can open and operate in a financially viable matter without the need for social distancing inside the venue. Obvious examples of where this type of system could be implemented includes conferences and events where attendees are known in advance and entrance into the venue is controlled.

Copy of Test to release QAs for Accommodation Providers (4)
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