Helping the tourism industry recover from Covid-19: Proposals for government

Author Visit Britain

This report published by Visit Britain in May 2020 outlines a series of recommendations to help the tourism industry recover from coronavirus. It covers 4 key themes: Timelines the industry needs for recovery; proposals to help staff back to work and keep them and visitors safe; recommendations to make doing business easier in the recovery phase; and proposals to secure the long term health of the visitor economy.

Date added 8 July 2020
Last updated 8 July 2020

Hospitality and tourism were the business sectors arguably hit hardest by COVID-19. As lockdowns ease across Britain, and the industry moves into recovery, Visit Britain has published a report outlining a series of recommendations to help the visitor economy recover from coronavirus. This report, prepared in consultation with the industry, encompasses four key themes each with its own set of recommendations to government outlining what the industry needs to recover.

Key report recommendations 

On timelines, the industry needs:

  • A standards-led approach which allows businesses and destinations to assess their ability to reopen under clear criteria.
  • Clear guidance to consumers about what it is safe to do and when – and reassurance that travel is socially responsible and encouraged.
  • As much notice as possible of the reopening date so that businesses can prepare.
  • Recognition that domestic will be much faster to recover than international or business travel, with longer term financial support needed for the industry.

To help staff back to work and keep them and visitors safe, the industry needs:

  • Extension of the furlough scheme in recognition that many sites will not be able to operate economically under continued social distancing, the seasonal nature of tourism and its dependence on customer demand.
  • Development and recognition of a ‘stay safe’ charter mark.
  • Access to apprenticeship levy money to fund retraining in social distancing measures such as hygiene and adapted operating requirements.
  • Clear guidance on how best to protect staff and customers through adaptations to sites and use of PPE.
  • Consideration of the other parts of the economy needed for people to return to work, such as public transport and schools.

To make doing business easier in the recovery, the industry needs:

  • A rent holiday for the tenants and landlords of restaurants and other premises.
  • Relaxation of planning restrictions that limit the opening season for some businesses, or limit where food and drink can be served/consumed.
  • Amendments to the Package Travel Regulation so that a ‘package’ must include transport to incentivise domestic trips.
  • Recognition that now is not the time to impose additional burdens or tax obligations on the visitor economy.
  • International work by government to try and build global consensus on how international businesses need to operate.

To secure the long term health of the visitor economy, the industry needs:

  • Acceleration and expansion of the ‘tourism zones’ proposed in the Sector Deal to support tourism’s contribution to the recovery, as part of the government’s ongoing ambition to ‘level up’ poorer parts of the country.
  • Seed funding of the Tourism Data Hub to build information that will support the recovery, especially for SMEs.
  • To use the crisis as an opportunity to drive innovation and improve productivity and boost the UK’s profile as a destination.
  • Encouragement for travellers to holiday at home with a major marketing campaign focused on domestic travel.
  • International visitor visas to be extended automatically to make it easier for them to take visits postponed due to the pandemic.
  • To use the reset in consumer behaviour forced by lockdown to consider wider questions like sustainability and longer-term consumer behaviour.