The UK tourism agency, Visit Britain, has proposed an additional bank holiday later in the year to help counteract the losses in domestic tourism caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
Polling carried out by Visit Britain has highlighted the public’s uncertainly surrounding travel with three quarters of people thinking their summer holiday will be taking place. Despite questions surrounding international travel, only 19% of people asked said they have considered booking a domestic holiday later in the year.
Visit Britain’s acting head, Patricia Yates, told MPs on Tuesday that ordinarily domestic tourism contributed £80bn to the economy but this year it is predicted to be down by £22bn. Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Yates said: “To get British tourism up and running this summer is hugely important as we need that domestic audience.” She said an extra bank holiday in October would allow the UK tourism sector to extend its summer season and recuperate some of the money lost.
Downing Street said the government was supporting the tourism industry through this “challenging period” and would “respond in due course” to the proposal by Visit Britain. Before acknowledging that “extra bank holidays do come with economic costs”. Current government guidelines allow the public to travel to visit beaches and other beauty spots but do not allow overnight stays. Hotels are not expected to reopen before July, at the earliest.