APPG shines light on seaside hospitality plight

Parliament Hospitality Tourism APPG new report
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The latest white paper from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism has underlined the importance of the UK’s devastated hospitality sector to hundreds of struggling seaside communities. But with Covid-19, or more appropriately government (mis-) management of the pandemic, has yet another report into the coastal crisis come far too late?

 

A new report from the Hospitality and Tourism APPG has highlighted the acute impact of the Covid-19 crisis on businesses in the UK’s coastal and lakeside communities.

The group’s Coasts and Waters report details how the impact of the crisis has been more pronounced on coastal and lakeside regions due to their reliance on tourism, which generates 50 per cent of local employment in some areas.

The report argues that these regions are likely to bounce back from the current crisis more slowly than other parts of the country, given that only a third of coastal communities have recovered thus far from the financial crash of 2008.

Having reviewed evidence submitted from residents and business owners throughout the UK’s coastal region’s, amongst the key recommendations of the APPG to government in addressing post-pandemic challenges are the revitalisation of the Tourism Sector Deal, a renewed commitment to a Coasts and Waters strategy as part of Westminster’s “levelling up strategy,” and the exploration of “innovative ways” to increase demand for off peak tourism to the British coast.

“The work this year has also thrown into sharp relief the devastating effect the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has had on these fantastic, yet precariously balanced regions,” commented APPG chair Steve Double MP.

“Without the further assistance that we have called for, many businesses and jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors will not exist by spring 2021.” “Without these vital industries, coastal and lakeside areas across the UK will be thrown into penury,” he continued. “The report gives us the best chance of understanding how these communities can be supported and encouraged to grow.”

Meanwhile, UKHospitality chief and APPG secretariat Kate Nicholls stressed the reliance of seaside and lakeside towns upon their hard hit hospitality businesses.

“These businesses tend to account for a significant proportion of the revenue raised in their areas,” she said. “If the Covid crisis has made anything clear, it is that hospitality and tourism businesses are vital parts of communities and will be essential in rebuilding the economy next year and beyond.”

‘COASTS AND WATERS’
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

• Ensure ‘continued and generous’ financial support for hospitality and tourism businesses
• Review and overhaul the current system of business rates
• Make reduced tourism VAT of 5 percent permanent beyond March 2021
• Urgent legislation to foster a resolution on rent debt
• More funding to address the skills gaps in coastal areas
• Funding for improve rail transport links to coastal and lakeside tourism hotspots
• Introduce grants to support local festivals and events that increase tourism all year round
• Introduce social tourism vouchers for lower income families
• Appointment of a Coastal Communities Minister


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