An orderly and clearly signalled opening date that allows high summer season trading could save as many as 40,000 jobs this year in and around Wales’ hospitality industry.
That is the message from UKHospitality Cymru to the Welsh Government which has so far avoided issuing any dates on hospitality’s reopening following the Covid-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, First Minister Mark Drakeford said in an interview with I that Wales could remain largely shut over the summer to visitors, with the ‘best hope’ being if tourists were allowed to sleep in entirely self-contained accommodation.
His comments were a heavy blow to the Welsh tourist industry and many hotels, particularly if England and Scotland are given the green light to reopen next month.
UKH estimates that, without further support and a clear plan for reopening, as many as 40,000 jobs are at risk in the wider hospitality sector in Wales.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Businesses in England are carefully planning for the anticipated return from July 4 and taking bookings from eager customers. Our members in Wales are left frustrated and anxious by the lack of clarity and are forced to contemplate making redundancies because of this unsustainable uncertainty.”
“More than 135,000 jobs are dependent on our industry in Wales, many in remote and precarious economic rural and coastal communities, and even small numbers of lay-offs could be devastating for those important but vulnerable areas.
“We have worked closely with the Government and developed a set of guidelines to equip businesses to return. Of course, health advice must be paramount but as conditions ease, we need guide dates to put essential customer planning in place.”