Call to bring forward the reopening of indoor hospitality and associated Tourism businesses by Tourism Taskforce Group
Mark Drakeford AS/MS
Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and the Welsh Language
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
14th April 2021
Dear First Minister,
Call to bring forward the reopening of indoor hospitality and associated Tourism businesses.
We, the industry representatives of the COVID-19 Tourism Taskforce Group, are writing to strongly urge you to make a positive statement on the early re-opening of indoor hospitality and associated tourism businesses at your next First Minister’s Announcement on the 22nd April 2021.
We are asking for a reopening date for our businesses in Wales to at least match the indoor hospitality dates of 17th May that are now in place in both England and Scotland- and even earlier if it is possible.
Your resolve in putting the health and safety of our nation above all other priorities has saved lives, protected health care provision and sent out a clear message that Wales will be a safe destination to visit when the time is right. We also recognise the enormous success of the Welsh Government’s vaccination programme, which has seen a rapid drop in the cases logged across Wales in recent weeks.
We believe your delivery of both to date now shows conditions are right to make a clear and positive statement and bring forward the much needed reopening of tourism and hospitality businesses in Wales.
The data for Wales is showing hugely encouraging signs with cases falling to a low of below 20 per 100,000- the lowest number since our industry was open for business in September. This advance has this week prompted your announcements of an earlier opening for gyms, leisure businesses and further household mixing.
We would like equal consideration for our businesses. We believe the clear change in conditions should allow our businesses to open much earlier than the tentative “before the end of May” timings outlined in your last review. What hasn’t changed in recent weeks are the anxiety levels, mental health concerns and wellbeing issues of our owners, managers and of their staff, who are desperate for the surety of day-to-day living that a return to work provides.
While forced to close, and only around 30 per cent of our businesses can open with outdoor hospitality, and while without the confirmation of additional financial support resources while shut, they also face making serious decisions about their, and their workforce’s, futures.
Further support, while we are forced to be closed, is critical to maintain the excellent work on supporting businesses in Wales achieved to date- and we urge Welsh Government to make sure jobs throughout the industry are continued to be supported and protected as we wait to reopen.
However, nothing can replace our ability to trade. We appeal with urgency for an early reopening and the positive opportunity to help you begin the economic rebuild that our great industry can help the new Government to deliver in the coming months.
As a Taskforce, we very much look forward to working together with that Government to bring forward business stability, staff wellbeing, community replenishment and a Croeso Cynnes to our customers and visitors.
Michael Bewick Steve Hughson
North Wales Regional Mid Wales Regional
Tourism Forum Tourism Forum
Philippa George Paula Ellis
South East Regional South West Regional
Tourism Forum Tourism Forum
Andrew Campbell Anthony Rosser
Wales Tourism Alliance Hospitality Cymru
Ian Edwards Sean Taylor
Visit Britain Board British Tourist Authority
David Chapman Adrian Greason-Walker
Executive Director Wales Policy Advisor
UKHospitality Cymru Wales Tourism Alliance