Bournemouth assesses the damage: Lockdown is costing livelihoods

Bournemouth pre-lockdown
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A report from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has calculated the cost of a six month lockdown to the area would be £507m and 9,000 jobs, revealing the extent of damage caused to seaside resorts, businesses and livelihoods across the UK.

 

Businesses along Britain’s coastline will miss out on billions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of jobs if coronavirus lockdown measures continue for six months, according to a new report. On the south coast in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, the figure touted to be lost from coronavirus is £507m. A report by the local council says “detailed estimates” show missing the entire summer season could also lead to 9,000 job losses and be “difficult to recover from”.

“Any extensive closure of the industry will effectively result in a lost season, and that may be difficult for the industry to recover from, other than in a changed configuration with potential significant disinvestment,” the report says.

Extrapolating the figures across every seaside resort in Britain, and lockdown spells disaster for the tourism industry. Many businesses have either furloughed staff or made redundancies as a result of the lockdown measures. Others have applied for support through business grants, with the local council in Bournemouth handing out more than £30 million of the £128 million it has been given to distribute across the area. However, the only way tourist businesses on Britain’s coastline are going to become self-sufficient is through a lift of current lockdown measures. While the report outlined that six months would cost £507m, it showed a three-month period of restrictions could more than half that figure, to £245m, with 5,000 jobs lost rather than 9,000.

However, even after the measures are lifted, the market that emerges may have shifted. In Bournemouth, the coach tour trade is a vital source of demand for tourism businesses, but Paul Clarke, chairman of town’s Coastal Bid, believes there’s “no guarantee” it will come back.

“However, there is optimism because the lockdown will end, albeit with restrictions,” Clarke added. “The people in the country – and locally – can help us all by holidaying in the UK and making use of the facilities we have here in our award winning coastal resort. It will not make up for the weeks of lockdown – and we await to see if we get the Christmas bookings – but we must be ready to take advantage of the opportunity when the lockdown ends.”


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