The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism is launching an urgent inquiry to establish the best ways to support the recovery of businesses hit by COVID-19 – at the right time and in line with Government health advice.
Hospitality and tourism have been two of the hardest and most visibly hit sectors by the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions on travel, social distancing and enforced closures of businesses have temporarily halted the ability for businesses to trade, with little indication of when they will be able to return to normal.
The inquiry will assess what is needed to get businesses in these sectors back on their feet at the right time for the country, providing forward-looking recommendations to guide Government as it moves to thinking about recovery. It aims to publish its findings and report by the middle of May, well ahead of any planned reopening.
The inquiry will look at a number of critical areas, including: the right timing for the reopening of the sector and measures need to make sure it is safe; business support to help the sector transition to the new normality; guidance for businesses to help them get business-ready; reigniting the sector’s supply chain; and marketing the sector.
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism Steve Double MP said: “Collectively, tourism and hospitality add around £80 billion to the UK’s economy and in normal times employ 3.3m people.
“These sectors were two of the first to feel the impact of first social distancing and then the lockdown and businesses have been hit hard in every region.
“It is vital that, as the danger of COVID-19 passes, these businesses are able to hit the ground running and return to full strength as rapidly as possible. Ensuring these sectors get back on their feet quickly should be one of the Government’s top priorities.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “Hospitality and tourism businesses provide employment, investment and opportunities in every region of the UK. That means that there is no corner of the country which has not seen job losses, shuttered venues and communities anxiously looking to the future.
“Our sector is in a unique position to begin the rebuilding process, both economically and socially, once we emerge and the time is right. This inquiry will focus on how we get restarted rather than necessarily when.
“It is clear we will only be able to recover if the right plan is in place, the Government understands the scale of the task and the opportunities it presents, and the correct support is provided – particularly the extension of the job retention scheme to protect jobs and wages.”