Ineffective travel restrictions imposed by the UK government to combat Omicron caused an estimated £7 billion loss to the UK economy last year.
This was due to a drop in contributions from the embattled tourism sector, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The “attack on tourism” at the end of last year until January proved ineffective at halting Omicron and “devastating for the sector,” the body said.
The new figures come from research carried out by the WTTC, which represents the global tourism private sector.
WTTC also revealed that the global tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy lost an estimated £26 billion – due to the impact of worldwide travel restrictions introduced to combat the spread of the new variant.
The £7 billion loss in contributions from the sector to the UK economy comes as the country finally begins to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Julia Simpson, WTTC chief executive, said: “Imposing unnecessary travel restrictions to ‘deal’ with Omicron was not backed by science and cost the UK economy £7 billion in lost revenues.
“Travel is opening up worldwide.
“If the UK is going to start to repair its economy, it needs to keep borders open.”