Hotels and holidaymakers will be hit by a further wave of the recession in 2017 as the UK tourism industry sees its biggest drop in more than a decade.
Hotels, resorts and other travel businesses in the UK are expected to see a drop of between 5 per cent and 7 per cent next year, according to a new report by The Economist.
The research, published on Thursday, said hotel occupancy rates in the country’s cities are expected down from 4.4 per cent in 2017 to 3.6 per cent by 2021.
It said a further 11 per cent of hotels will have to close by 2021, with a further 12 per cent having to lay off staff.
The report said hotel industry employment in 2017 was expected to fall from 1.9 million to 1.5 million, with an overall drop of 5 per-cent.
Tourism and hospitality employment in Britain will fall by more than 10 per cent.
The UK tourism sector saw a massive downturn last year as its occupancy rate fell below 10 per day in the autumn of last year, and the country had a record number of visitor cancellations last summer.
The fall in the economy was so severe that the UK’s unemployment rate last year fell to 9.5 per cent, down from 10.9 per cent a year earlier.
The tourism industry has also suffered from a decline in international arrivals, which had fallen by 2.2 per cent last year.
The downturn in the industry has been exacerbated by the Brexit vote in June 2016.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time that he expected tourism to fall by as much as 15 per cent over the next five months, but the figures for 2021 show that the drop will be more gradual.
The economic downturn has hit tourism in the US and Europe as well.
The number of Americans visiting Britain fell from an estimated 10.5m in 2014 to 5.9m last year and an estimated 4.9 m in 2021, according the National Association of Realtors.
The Association said that in 2021 UK tourism revenues would be $2.3 billion.
The decline in British tourism has also impacted Europe, with the number of Europeans visiting the UK dropping by an estimated 1.2 million between 2014 and 2020.
This was due to a rise in the number visiting from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.