Extra UK bank holiday for October could be considered

An October bank holiday could help Britain’s tourism industry to recover as it is set to lose billions of pounds due to coronavirus, a select committee has heard.

Patricia Yates, the acting chief executive of Visit Britain, said the industry had lost the benefit of the two May bank holidays due to the lockdown.

She added an October break could help extend the holiday season beyond the summer months.

Ms Yates said 2020 has to be the “year of domestic tourism” but there will be a serious challenge in convincing people it is safe to travel.

Other leaders in the sector also told of a lack of confidence among people even when it comes to travel within the UK.

Ms Yates, giving estimates of how much the industry had lost due to the missed bank holidays, told the committee: “Every time we do the modelling the figures get worse.

“So for inbound, I mean we were looking at the beginning of this year at about £26.6bn coming from inbound tourism – we reckon a £15bn drop on that.

“And for domestic, an industry that’s normally worth about £80bn, a £22bn drop on that.”

She said those figures were before the impact of any quarantine measures yet to be introduced were factored in.

Ms Yates said Visit Britain was already looking at stepping up marketing in Ireland, which will be exempt from the quarantine measures regarding international travel.

She added that arrangements between certain countries where quarantine rules might not apply was an “interesting” idea, citing France, Germany, Italy and Spain as particularly important markets.

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