Visit Lincoln Urges Businesses to Fight to Protect Tourism Jobs across the Region
The Tourism Alliance seeks to establish and maintain a favourable operating environment for all businesses involved in the delivery of tourism, particularly in England. Its main purpose is to lobby government both in the UK and Brussels on the key strategic issues facing the industry. Its members include leading Trade Associations and Destination Management Organisations in the sector.
Director of the organisation, Kurt Janson has written to the Chancellor to request urgent changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme in order to protect UK tourism business and their employees so it can provide much needed economic growth when the current crisis ends
At present this industry encompasses a mix of 240,000 inbound, outbound and domestic businesses. Together, these businesses represent the UK’s third largest employer, providing jobs for 3.2m and contributing over £145bn pa to the UK economy. However this sector is one that is being hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
Charlotte Goy, interim CEO of Visit Lincoln explains the reasons why it is so vital tourism businesses rally to support the campaign;
“Visit Lincoln is encouraging all tourism businesses to champion this vital campaign. Our industry includes many companies that operate solely between March/April and September, and this in itself brings unique challenges. Our fear is that some will not survive unless Government intervention is secured.
What’s more we know that our sector has a unique ability to quickly contribute to the UK’s economic recovery. So safeguarding the industry makes absolute sense for the future of the British economy as a whole.
Significantly these jobs are distributed throughout the UK – across rural, urban and seaside communities. Areas which traditionally don’t benefit from other industries and where tourism is key for the local economy.”
The Tourism Alliance has identified three factors which need Government intervention; seasonality, security and maintenance and the winter season.
Many industry workers are seasonal and as such are ineligible for furlough status. Seasonal workers who started on or after 1st March do not fall under the current Job. Retention Scheme. Even though they may be returning to work for the same business over the summer months for many seasons and rely on this income.
The Tourism Alliance is fighting for the estimated 380,000 seasonal workers in the industry that they may be furloughed where there is auditable evidence of their employment prior to 28 February 2020.
Security and maintenance also represents a challenge. Many businesses have had to furlough their permanent staff. As a consequence these premises will not be able to undertake the maintenance required to ensure they are ready to welcome customers when lockdown ends; resulting in further losses and cost. The Tourism Alliance is also lobbying the Government for a scheme, or flexibility to allow at least for minimum essential grounds maintenance and security in land-based park businesses.
The third aspect around the campaign reflects the short window of seasonality tourism businesses face. Although it is unknown at this stage exactly when businesses will be able to reopen to the public, it looks likely that this will not be until much of the 2020 tourism season has ended. If this is the case, not only will these businesses have lost the majority of their 2020 income, they will then have to survive the winter until the 2021 tourism season begins. The fear is that if support is withdrawn, these businesses will run out of cash over the winter period. The Tourism Alliance is pushing for the Government to provide the ongoing support seasonal tourism businesses will need, even if the country returns to a ‘new normal’ sometime this summer.
A social media campaign #ProtectTourismJobs has been launched nationally.