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WTM Virtual: 2021 will be the ‘year of recovery’ says culture secretary Oliver Dowden

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has welcomed the World Travel Market back to London in its 40th year, saying the United Kingdom remains “wide open” for tourism.

He also set out an exciting calendar of events in 2022 after a year of recovery as the industry bounces back.

During his speech at the virtual travel and tourism summit, Mr Dowden said, he was proud that the event had gone ahead in what had been a difficult year but that things would get better.

He said: “The coronavirus has pummelled every industry but perhaps none more so than this sector. Tourism exists to open doors to new places and sadly the coronavirus has slammed those doors shut. It has grounded planes, stopped trains and kept ferries in their places.

“Put simply, everyone wants to go on holiday but they can’t and those millions of people who were forced to delay their holidays this year will be more eager than ever to travel in 2021 and the years beyond. “And I want to say to all those future tourists and all those businesses here today, the United Kingdom remains open, our doors are wide open, for visitors and you really could do no better than coming to visit our wonderful United Kingdom and I say this as someone who has enjoyed many holidays in the UK,” he added.

Mr Dowden spoke about Britain’s Global Travel Task Force to help deliver safe and sustainable recovery. He set out the need to “regroup and recover and rebuild” and described 2021 as a year of recovery.

He said: “In 2022, it will be more exciting than ever to visit the United Kingdom. Perhaps if this year has been a very challenging year, hopefully 2021 will be a year of recovery for the United Kingdom. We are hoping that 2022 will be a year of celebration. We will be welcoming the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, West Midlands. We will be having a Festival of the United Kingdom in 2022 bringing all parts of our nation together and in 2022 Her Majesty The Queen will be celebrating 70 years on the throne - a year of celebration for her Platinum Jubilee. So it will be a wonderful opportunity for the United Kingdom to come together to show our very best to the rest of Britain and the rest of the world.”

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