Cutting tourism VAT, an overhaul of the business rates system and the creation of an autumn Bank Holiday are some of the ways in which the Government can support the UK’s hospitality and tourism businesses can back on track post Covid-19, according to a new report.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism’s report: Pathways to Recovery has been published today highlighting the scale of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors and outlining a series of recommendations to help businesses recover.
The report, published by UKHospitality, follows an inquiry by the APPG, chaired by Steve Double MP, which collected testimony and written evidence from over 350 businesses, trade bodies and Students’ Unions.
The report states:
· Hospitality and tourism sectors have been two of the hardest hit by COVID-19. Just 11% of hospitality businesses have been able to operate normally during the lockdown and international tourist arrivals likely to be down 59% for the year.
· The Government should work with sector businesses to reconsider the 2 metre social distancing rules.
· Urgent action is required on rents and the Government must undertake a holistic review of business costs.
· Government financial support of both sectors has been crucial in keeping businesses alive and jobs secure, however, some businesses have struggled to access available support. This support must be extended in order to keep jobs safe.
· Promoting tourism should be a priority for the Government. The Government should; create an autumn Bank Holiday; cut tourism VAT by 10% to encourage domestic tourism; introduce air bridges and cut Air Passenger Duty to boost inbound tourism.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “Hospitality and tourism were some of the first sectors to take a noticeable hit, even before lockdown began. The reality is that these sectors will also be two of the last to fully emerge and it will take time for employers to get back up to anywhere near full speed.
“If the Government is positive and decisive in delivering support for these sectors, then the job will be made much easier. Businesses will be saved and jobs all around the country kept secure. We hope that the Government acts on the recommendations in this report. Otherwise, the road back will be a long and hard one.”