As Wales emerges from its second lockdown, Fay Jones MP has met with members of the Brecon Beacons Tourism to discuss the challenges facing the sector and the support needed.
The Welsh tourism sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions, with fewer visitors and additional costs incurred by businesses to put in place social distancing measures. Around half of the tourism businesses surveyed by the Wales Tourism Alliance fear they might not survive the next six months.
During the call, it was reiterated that there is a lack of financial support being made available by the Welsh Government to businesses who are often struggling with their fixed costs. This comes in light of the Economic Resilience Fund – Phase 3, a Welsh Government scheme to provide financial support to businesses, closing due to oversubscription just 24 hours after opening.
With the UK Government having provided well over £4 billion in additional financial support to the Welsh Government due to COVID-19, it is estimated by Cardiff University that £1.2 billion has not yet been spent by the Welsh Government.
Miss Jones spent an hour speaking with businesses who rely on tourism in the Brecon Beacons via zoom, answering questions and listening to their concerns. Laura Thomas, Brecon Beacons Tourism Executive Director thanked Fay for joining their member meeting to answer questions and listen to concerns.
Commenting on the meeting, Fay Jones, Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire said:
“I very much appreciate the tourism businesses which took the time to meet with me today. I am under absolutely no illusions that the sector faces immense challenges.
“While Wales is no longer in a lockdown and many tourism businesses can reopen, England will be in a lockdown for the next month and much of the tourism sector in Brecon and Radnorshire relies on visitors from England.
“I will continue to urge the Treasury to do all it can for tourism businesses in Wales, but it is vital that the Welsh Government uses the £1.2 billion of unspent funding made available to them, to support these businesses. There are also a number of inconsistencies in the Welsh Government guidance for the industry which I will be querying with the Tourism Minister and officials in Cardiff Bay.
“We want to make sure that we still have a tourism industry left to reopen, when all of this is over.”
Commenting on the meeting, Laura Thomas, Brecon Beacons Tourism Executive Director said:
“The hospitality and tourism sector are vital to our rural economy and have been severely impacted by Covid-19.
“Whilst members appreciate the financial packages and support which are in place, more will be needed to help cover the losses incurred and in some cases many businesses have still had no support at all.
“We welcome Fay's offer to speak to colleagues and look into what solutions can be offered to ensure the sector can survive the coming months.”