Tuesday 1 June 2021 / 11:32 AM Culture

Labour calls on the government to publish the long-awaited Tourism Recovery Plan

Labour is calling on the government to step up and “Save the Great British Summer”, as new data shows that the sector’s recovery is lagging behind the rest of the economy.

The tourism sector supports 3.1 million jobs across the country, providing experiences unparalleled elsewhere in the world – from the classic British seaside holiday to stunning vistas of the UK’s many National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

However, recovery for the industry has been slower than for other sectors and concerns remain that more businesses could go under if action isn’t taken. The party has highlighted new ONS survey data showing that the tourism and hospitality industry remains vulnerable compared to other industries.

 

Labour’s analysis of the survey results shows that:

  • Nearly a third (31.90%) of tourism and hospitality businesses surveyed have paused trading or permanently closed, compared to only around one in six (16.70%) businesses across all industries.
  • Nearly half (47.1%) of employees in surveyed hospitality and tourism businesses remain furloughed at least in part, compared to just over 10 per cent (11.7%) across all industries.
  • More than two in five (41.50%) hospitality and tourism businesses surveyed have fewer than three months in cash reserves, compared to less than a third (32.90%) of businesses across all industries.
  • The regions where businesses are most vulnerable are:

o   the West Midlands, where three quarters (75.9%) of responding tourism and hospitality businesses have paused trading or permanently closed and more than a third (36.90%) have fewer than three months of cash reserves;

o   the North East, where more than two fifths (44.40%) of responding tourism and hospitality businesses have paused trading or permanently closed and a third (34.90%) have fewer than three months left of cash reserves.

o   the North East, where nearly two fifths (38.70%) of responding tourism and hospitality businesses have paused trading or permanently closed and a third (34.60%) have fewer than three months left of cash reserves.

 

The party is calling on the Government to:

 

  1. Release the long-delayed Tourism Recovery Plan

This was initially intended to be in place by late Spring. The sector is starting this season late and without a plan. As more Brits holiday at home there is a massive opportunity to make the most of our home grown attractions from our seaside towns to our glorious countryside.

 

  1. Give businesses greater flexibility to repay debt taken on during the crisis 

The Government must provide businesses with a fair repayment scheme based on the amount they’re making, or risk more people falling out of work and further damage to local economies reliant on trade from tourists.

 

  1. Level the playing field between online and high street businesses 

From traditional highstreets to independent shops our tourist hotspots all have a unique charm and character in danger of being erased as the online giants profit from the pandemic.

 

  1. Plug the gaps in the government’s schemes for the self-employed

Tour guides are disproportionately freelance.

 

Labour’s Shadow Tourism Minister Alex Sobel MP, said:

“Before last year, the UK tourism industry employed 3.3 million people and generated revenue of £155.4 billion per year.

“Tourism is vital to the British economy but is facing its biggest challenge in living memory. We still haven’t seen the Tourism Recovery Plan while great swathes of this sector have been excluded from the government’s schemes.

“We need a plan to keep businesses going, not to encourage them to close.”