‘Urgent’ inquiry into how hospitality sector can recover

An “urgent” inquiry is being launched to assess what will be needed to get hospitality and tourism businesses back up and running once it is safe to do so following the covid-19 pandemic.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism is launching the inquiry to establish the best ways to support the recovery of UK businesses in both sectors that have been affected by covid-19 when it is appropriate to do so and in line with government advice.

The inquiry will look at what businesses need and will provide forward-looking recommendations to guide the government when it starts to think about recovery. It aims to publish the findings and report by mid-May, “well-ahead of any planned reopening”.

Areas of exploration will include the right timing for the reopening of the sector and measures needed to ensure it is safe to do so; business support to help the industry transition into the new normality; guidance for firms to help them get business-ready; and reigniting the sectors’ supply chains and the marketing sector.

Steve Double MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism, said: “Collectively, tourism and hospitality add around £80 billion to the UK’s economy and in normal times employ 3.3m people.

“These sectors were two of the first to feel the impact of first social distancing and then the lockdown and businesses have been hit hard in every region.

“It is vital that, as the danger of covid-19 passes, these businesses are able to hit the ground running and return to full strength as rapidly as possible. Ensuring these sectors get back on their feet quickly should be one of the government’s top priorities.”

UK Hospitality support

The inquiry was welcomed by trade body UK Hospitality.

Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality chief executive, said: “Hospitality and tourism businesses provide employment, investment and opportunities in every region of the UK. That means that there is no corner of the country which has not seen job losses, shuttered venues and communities anxiously looking to the future.

“Our sector is in a unique position to begin the rebuilding process, both economically and socially, once we emerge and the time is right. This inquiry will focus on how we get restarted, rather than necessarily when.

“It is clear we will only be able to recover if the right plan is in place, the government understands the scale of the task and the opportunities it presents, and the correct support is provided – particularly the extension of the job retention scheme to project jobs and wages.”

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Author: Melita Kiely {authorlink}