SB Wales has called upon the First Minister to give urgent clarity and a timescale to plans for allowing the reopening of the tourism industry in Wales.
Tourism businesses, like many other businesses, remain in effective ‘hibernation’ because of the impact of Coronavirus. However, across the industry, there has been a hope that, as elsewhere in the UK, the Welsh Government will bring forward clearer plans for at least the partial re-opening of those businesses.
FSB has already raised concerns about the viability of the sector in Wales which is among the hardest hit by the current Coronavirus crisis. In its report Reopening Wales FSB called for the creation of a Tourism Hibernation Scheme to provide funding to make the most of whatever remains of this year’s season and ensure those businesses remain viable into next year.
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair stated: “Tourism businesses have already lost a huge amount of trade because of the effects of this virus. Many businesses fear that without an opportunity to trade during this summer season, they simply won’t be able to continue operating into 2021.
“So many local economies depend directly and indirectly on this important industry. Many of these businesses exist in areas we know will already be among the hardest hit communities in Wales economically.
“Businesses within tourism have been vocal in their concern at the prospect that Wales may remain closed as other UK Governments move to reopen the industry elsewhere. We need to ensure that the industry in Wales remains competitive.
“We welcome comments by Economy Minister Ken Skates suggesting that some more positive news for the industry might be forthcoming soon but there is an urgency to the current situation. We also welcome the support for the industry shown by Secretary of State Simon Hart and would support the call, made in this recent letter to the First Minister for the Welsh and UK Governments to work together to make sure that the industry can re-open safely in a way which protects communities and allows businesses to make the best of this season.
“We accept the complexities and difficulties in making these judgements. However, we know that economic recovery into next year will depend heavily on the viability of the tourism industry this year. These businesses need to be in the best place possible to aid our economic recovery and regrowth.
“Clarity is needed now from the First Minister to allow businesses to plan and prepare. Confusion surrounding the way forward for the industry is corrosive to the hope of those thousands of businesses and individuals whose livelihoods depend so heavily on the success of this vital industry”.