Due to the current success of the UK’s vaccine rollout, the host destination is a major contender to take on more EURO 2020 games, if the situation presents itself. With a possibility that domestic fans may be the only type of fan allowed to attend the games, this would act as a huge opportunity to aid the recovery of domestic tourism in the UK.
UK’s preparedness puts it in poll position
With UEFA deciding on the format of the tournament next month, the UK is currently in prime position to take on more games if UEFA decided that other countries involved would be unfit to host or that one host were preferable. The success of vaccine rollout programmes will be key on deciding on the format of the tournament. Currently, the UK has administered the most vaccines overall and also leads in terms of vaccinations per capita. Additionally, the UK has the infrastructure in place to hold a major sporting event, from mega-stadiums to high-class training facilities for the international teams.
Although UEFA still seems committed to the original format, we have learned that things can change quickly during this pandemic and one nation may be called on to host more games, or maybe even the whole thing. If this were the case, the UK would be an ideal option and this decision would be warmly received by its tourism sector, which would be hoping for at least the allowance of domestic travel for the tournament in order to offset some of the damage created in 2020.
A boost to tourism recovery is needed
According to GlobalData, domestic visitation in the UK dropped by 64.1% (YOY) in 2020 and domestic expenditure decreased by 66.6%. With a loss in domestic tourism expenditure of £53.5bn in 2020, the UK Government and tourism sector will be keen on the idea of taking on more EURO 2020 games in order to accelerate economic, and tourism, recovery, as well as encouraging Brits to once again visit UK cities. In 2020, many Brits stayed clear of city centers and opted for domestic trips in rural areas, where the risk of Covid-19 contraction was significantly lower and they also did not have to rely on establishments being open in order to gain a positive touristic experience.
It has been confirmed that any additional games in the UK could be played outside of Wembley, due to government ambitions of bringing the tournament to areas outside London. This concept will help to spread the economic benefits of domestic tourism for the EUROS across the UK, which would hopefully create a more even recovery and not exacerbate wealth divisions.
Using UEFA EURO 2016 in France as an example, the tournament boosted the French economy to the tune of over €1.2bn (£1bn). Although international tourism may not be allowed, stadiums may not be at full capacity and the UK may not host the entirety of the tournament, the economic boost witnessed by France shows the potential benefits to the UK. If the UK were to host even more games than the eleven it is already scheduled to host in London and Glasgow, its tourism recovery would no doubt be accelerated.