UK Prime Minister calls on international tourists to visit one of the most open countries in Europe

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today calls on international tourists to visit the UK and enjoy the sights and sounds of one of the most open countries in Europe.

As testing and quarantine restrictions end for fully vaccinated visitors, the UK is ready to welcome visitors from around the globe for a blockbuster year of events showcasing the breadth of culture, creativity and innovation on offer, including Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Unboxed: Creativity in the UK.

It comes ahead of a new VisitBritain £10 million international marketing campaign targeting the UK's most valuable visitor markets of Europe and the USA which will launch in February.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Thanks to the phenomenal success of our booster campaign and the extraordinary efforts of the public, the UK is officially one of the most open countries in Europe and ready to welcome visitors from across the globe.

The UK is home to thousands of world class attractions, unbeatable hospitality and incredible history and culture. 2022 also promises a host of unmissable events - from Her Majesty's Jubilee to the Commonwealth Games.

Now is a fantastic time to book a trip and enjoy the best the UK has to offer."

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

There is huge pent up demand from international tourists to visit the UK and my message is clear: our brilliant tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses are ready and waiting to welcome people back.

2022 is set to be a blockbuster year with an unmissable opportunity to see world-class sports in the Commonwealth Games, culture and creativity through the Unboxed events and royal pageantry as we mark the Queen's 70-year reign."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

We made the right calls at the right time and thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it's paying off - allowing us to safely remove nearly all COVID-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers.

We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of these changes we now have a travel sector to match it.

This final step in our stable and safe full return to international travel is a major boost for UK tourism, setting Britain free ahead of the crucial half term and spring holiday season."

VisitBritain's multi-million pound campaign will spotlight cities across the UK including London, Edinburgh and Cardiff which have been hit hard by the lack of international visitors.

It will encourage visitors to see another side of Britain promoting new and exciting experiences such as kayaking on London's iconic River Thames, Edinburgh's famous Fringe Festival and sampling some of the world's finest gins at Cardiff Distillery.

VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe said:

We know there is pent up demand for travel and our priority is to build back demand for Britain and visitor spending as quickly as possible, competing hard for international visitors who contribute billions to our economy.

As well as messages of welcome and reassurance, we're shining the spotlight on our vibrant and diverse cities. Telling the stories of our renowned heritage with a modern twist, our buzzing contemporary culture and innovative food and drink scene, we are showing that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences to come and see today.

This year's landmark events, set to be global tourism draws, also present exciting and timely opportunities to highlight once-in-a-lifetime experiences that visitors can only have here, and to promote our welcome and creativity to the world."

VisitBritain's campaign will build on the government's ambitious Tourism Recovery Plan published in June 2021 which aims to get domestic and international tourism back to pre-pandemic levels a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

The government has backed tourism, hospitality and leisure organizations through the pandemic with more than £37 billion in funding and support.

This includes the ongoing cut to VAT, furlough and 100 per cent business rates relief for leisure, retail and hospitality businesses which have saved thousands of jobs and prevented many business closures. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at its peak supported 87 per cent of hospitality and entertainment businesses and a UK-wide VAT cut for the tourism sectors from 20 per cent to 5 per cent was in place until September 2021. It will remain at 12.5 per cent until the end of March 2022 to provide ongoing support for businesses.

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