The UK’s hospitality and tourism businesses need to see significant reforms led by government to support their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
That’s the view of an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism, which is calling on policymakers to think carefully about how certain measures might help boost the prospects for what are crucial sectors of the UK economy.
Hospitality and tourism businesses are among those to have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 situation in recent months and only 11 per cent have been able to operate as normal during the lockdown.
Crucially, the APPG wants government to ensure that businesses across the two sectors can reopen safely and sustainably in the coming weeks and in ways that mean there is not a “false start”.
Having to go back into any sort of lockdown after having attempted to reopen and restart could be “devastating for both hospitality and tourism,” the APPG has said.
Financial support promised to businesses in these sectors must also be made readily accessible and succeed in reaching those who need it urgently, the group has insisted.
Other policy measures that the APPG wants to see introduced include an overhaul of the current business rates system and the creation of an October bank holiday.
There are also calls for a reassessment of the 2-metre social distancing rules that have been brought in to prevent or reduce the spread of coronavirus since the pandemic began.
“In every region of the UK, high streets in town and city centres have been almost entirely shuttered and normal life has been suspended,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade body UKHospitality.
“Hospitality and tourism were some of the first sectors to take a noticeable hit… and the reality is that these sectors will also be two of the last to fully emerge,” she added.
While remaining positive about future prospects for the two sectors, Ms Nicholls has insisted that their process of recovery will be made much easier “if the government is positive and decisive in delivering support”.