James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Government urged to extend summer holiday season to help boost tourism industry
23 July 2020, 08:54
The Government has been urged by MPs to do more to promote an extension of the UK's summer holiday season to boost the struggling tourism industry.
A report by the Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee found that capacity constraints caused by social distancing requirements have made "smoothing out demand more important than ever".
It stated that reducing the seasonality of the tourism sector is vital both this year and in 2021.
This is because many businesses will need to earn as much money as possible in the coming months to survive, and a number of bookings have been deferred until next year.
The committee called on the Government to launch a "national campaign" to restore consumer confidence in the domestic holiday market.
If this is done quickly, there is "still time to boost the end of the summer plus the autumn and 2021 market", according to the report.
"Such a campaign will be hugely beneficial in assisting the tourism industry in clawing back some of the business it has lost during the lockdown period and will help to fill the hole left by the sharp decrease in international visitors to the UK."
The committee also found that more needs to be done to help seasonal workers who missed out on the Government's furlough scheme due to not being paid or reported to HM Revenue and Customs by the cut-off date of March 19.
Its report stated: "Seasonal workers in the tourism industry are falling between the cracks in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
"We recommend that DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) works with the tourism sector and HM Treasury to review the measures in place to support tourism businesses and seasonal workers to ensure they fully meet the needs of the sector."