As you will be aware the Welsh Government has announced a 16 days fire-break lockdown from 6pm Friday 23 October to Monday 9 November, which will embrace 3 full weekends and the half term period for the vast majority of schools in both Wales and England. The impact will be significant for tourism and hospitality industry in Wales, a nation where the visitor economy is a relatively more widespread and a relatively more important component of the total economy. Movement restrictions in Wales will also have an impact on outgoing leisure and tourism activity from Wales.
In addition to the UK wide support packages (for example, the remanence of furlough and, from 1 Nov, the less generous replacement job support scheme) the Welsh Government will be making £300m available to businesses impacted by the lockdown. The £300m, to cover the majority of businesses in Wales, for a short sharp 16 day period, in an Country of c 3.1m compares, with a sum of £40m made available in the Liverpool City Region, principally but not exclusively for the hospitality industry, for an indeterminate period, for an area with a population of c 1.5m.
Such a simplistic comparison isn’t necessarily that helpful, particularly as the devil will be in the detailed and differing situations and differing timeframe, The Welsh figure, for example, appears to include other ongoing national support funding and for a much wider range of businesses of all types forcibly closed. Regardless of the levels of support being made available, two weeks closure in Wales and an indeterminate, 4 week plus mix of closure and/or significant curtailment in some areas within England will have a further devastating impact on the local “tourism industry”, coming as it does on top of an already difficult year for the vast majority of visitor economy related businesses, of whatever type or size. In particular, the loss of the Autumn half term, the last potentially strong trading opportunity for many in the 2020, compounds the problems that many businesses will now face.
We now all face the prospect of a long generally slow, low season with any hope of a coming festive season uplift already largely gone following the earlier introduction of the rule of six or the national equivalents. Increasing infection rates and the associated lockdowns and regional restrictions only serve to increase the likelihood that social interactions, especially in commercial hospitality environments will remain a, if not the focus of ongoing restrictions for some months to come. Even if and when the restrictions are lifted, normally there is very limited post-Christmas, domestic demand for both holidays and hospitality during January, February and into March.
The following Visit Wales update give a quick and easily understood summary of the position as it impacts on tourism in Wales and the basic level of support being offered to businesses: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALES/bulletins/2a4d7e1
The Welsh Government’s support page which gives access to more detail can be accessed at: https://gov.wales/business-and-employers-coronavirus