The UK retail and hospitality sector has been one of the most impacted industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK Hospitality Quarterly Tracker reported that sales dropped by 64% between April 2020 and March 2021, totalling an estimated £80.8 billion loss in revenue (CGA). Many businesses were unable to trade at all, causing almost 12,000 licensed premises to shut down and over 600,000 reported job losses. The Local Government Association released a summary of the government’s commitment to support the hospitality industry in March 2021. The organisation highlighted how the closure and (potentially permanent) loss of key visitor attractions has had a significant impact on local hospitality businesses, specifically hotels and restaurants. The loss of nearby tourist attractions, specifically museums, galleries, theatres, sports or music venues, and historic landmarks, has had a serious detrimental impact on surrounding hospitality businesses, particularly small, independent enterprises. Culture and leisure centres are proven assets to local economies, acting as incentives to drive visitors into towns and cities. They are crucial players in the regional economic eco-systems, generating employment opportunities and pushing capital into local retail and accommodation. With VisitBritain predicting only 11.3 million visits from international tourists in 2021, the recovery of hospitality and tourism sectors will be heavily reliant on domestic markets. Staycations have become an increasingly popular option for holiday – loving Brits to enjoy national attractions and inject much needed money into domestic economies. With travel abroad remaining unstable and subject to last minute changes, as we have seen recently with Portugal being taken off of Britain’s green travel list, vacationing across Britain has become the more reliable option, especially as the vaccination rollout reaches the younger generations. The pandemic may have a lasting effect on how people plan their holidays, especially as some countries may have limited access to vaccines.
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