Warning Wales’ tourism industry is on ‘brink of collapse’

Tourism leaders from some of the most popular visitor attractions in Wales have issued a joint statement calling for “urgent clarity” around dates for reopening following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Bosses from the likes of Snowdon Mountain Railway, Zip World, and the National Botanic Garden of Wales warned the industry is on the “brink of collapse” as the main tourism season approaches.

Tourist attractions around the country were forced to close back in March when Wales entered lockdown in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.

Tourism is estimated to be worth £3 billion to the Welsh economy.

Snowdonia’s Zip World attraction is one of the many centres forced to close Credit: PA

Now, twelve weeks on, they have written to Mark Drakeford MS asking for a reopening roadmap warning it would be “catastrophic” if the Summer 2020 season did not happen.

The letter reads, “Whilst members are thankful for the continued efforts and support of Visit Wales and access to the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund – which had offered a short- term lifeline to a number of our members – we now face the real an fragmenting prospect, because of your very restrictive and separate set of pandemic “lockdown” policies, of a 2020 summer season that may never happen.”

The result would be catastrophic for the tourism industry in Wales.

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100,000

The tourism industry employs 100,000 people in Wales

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Popular tourist spots such as Pen y Fan have been closed to the public during the pandemic. Credit: PA

The letter goes on to say that the Welsh Government’s policies, “once being protective… are causing further damage unless there is urgent change.

“We are supportive of the First Minister’s aim to protect the health of people in Wales however this aim must be in the wider context of the long term health of individuals and the ability of the Welsh economy to recover. We have a major concern that a narrow focus on immediate matters will cause irreparable damage in the long term.”

In response to the letter, a Welsh Government spokesperson said the reopening of the tourism economy is “at the forefront of our minds.”

“We hear what businesses are saying and are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing but we have to be guided by the medical and scientific advice to ensure we only lift restrictions when they are safe to do so.

“It is also crucial the sector knows that together with other nations we are fiercely lobbying for additional financial support from the UK government.

“The next review point is on June 18th.”

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