Published on : Friday, April 10, 2020
The United Kingdom tourism industry is bracing for a £2billion hit from the coronavirus lockdown over the Easter holidays as popular destinations urge people to stay away despite the devastating impact their absence will have on businesses. Most of the hotels, holiday parks, pubs, restaurants and leisure destinations in United Kingdom have all been forced to close to comply with lockdown regulations that will cover the Easter weekend, and are expected to continue for what remains of the school holidays.
The tourists, including second home-owners have been urged to stay away from coastal towns and national parks in order to reduce the risk of spreading infection and putting pressure on local health services.
In Weston-Super-Mare, which would expect up to 200,000 additional visitors a day over Easter, officials are urging people to stay away despite the damage it will do to the local economy.
Caroline Darlington, tourism manager of the local council, said that her job and her olleagues is to get people to come here, so it goes against every bone in their body to say stay away, but they have to.
The lockdown measures will have a disastrous economic impact for many, particularly in coastal and rural areas that rely on tourism, an industry estimated to support 200,000 businesses employing 3.1 million people.
The latest tourism figures compiled by VisitBritain that domestic tourism generated an average of more than £2bn in March and April, the months that cover the Easter holidays, in the last five years, with £2.1bn spent in 2019. That level of spending was likely to have been repeated this year.
The Easter holiday weekend is typically a peak for United Kingdom travel and, with good weather forecast and the four-day weekend falling in the middle of the two-week state-school holiday, millions of people would have been on the move.
In 2019 about 7.4 million people said they were considering travelling over the Easter weekend, and VisitBritain data shows that on average more than 9 million took a domestic holiday during March and April in each of the last five years. In 2019, 10.1 million people took a UK break during the two months.
Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset, famous for its vast expanse of sands, is the site of the second-largest number of static caravans in the UK after Skegness. Alan House, director of the family-owned Unity Holiday Park, said the lockdown has had “horrendous” consequences for his business.
He has six-figure monthly outgoings before wages and no revenue for the foreseeable future. The park has been in the family for three generations but none has faced a challenge like this.