Tourism associations have collectively expressed their despair and disbelief that Government has again chosen to deny businesses in the inbound tourism sector, which generated £28.4 billion in export earnings for the UK economy in 2019, access to the latest Covid-19 support.
Since March 2020, the Government has stated that sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars are specifically eligible for Business Grants, Local Restriction Support Grants and Business Rates Relief. However, four incredibly valuable export earning tourism and transport sectors, which have been effectively closed for almost a year, continue to be excluded.
The following sectors generate £17.5 billion and 275,000 jobs for the UK economy, but they are not listed as businesses that should be eligible for support, even though inbound tourism figures are down 95% as a result of Coronavirus.
- Event Organisers
- Tour Operators/Destination Management Companies (DMCs)
- Coach Operators
- Language Schools
The Government’s latest “Business Support Package for January Lockdown”, which includes a Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment and LRSG (Closed) Addendum adds insult to injury by providing further support of up to £13,500 for sexual entertainment venues, while again excluding these tourism businesses from applying.
These associations and their members have contacted Ministers, MPs and Government Officials over 100 times to outline why these businesses should be supported (previously profitable, generate billions for the UK economy and will significantly aid the UK’s economic recovery) and to ask for the eligibility criteria to be changed to include them. These requests continue to be ignored by Government.
Simon Hughes, chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, which EVCOM are part of, said, “Event organisers have fallen through the cracks of government support. Yet they are the core of a £70 billion industry sector which employs 700,000 people. Many are small and individual businesses that do not have the means to survive a period of trading inactivity, that is already nearly 12 months long and could last well into the latter part of 2021. Given that there are over 5 million inbound visits to the UK annually to attend a business event, generating a spend of £3.5 billion, providing adequate support to event organisers is critical to the economic recovery of the UK.”