Domestic holidays within England may restart by early July, as part of the government’s “ambitious plans to revive the tourism sector,” says culture secretary, Oliver Dowden.
Making the announcement at the daily Downing Street briefing, he said, “I would love to get the tourism sector up as quickly as we possibly can.
“We’ve set this very ambitious plan to try and get it up and running by the beginning of July.”
‘Only if it’s safe to do so’
Dowden added that domestic holidays will need to return under caution, to avoid closing the tourism industry for a second time, which would be more damaging to the sector.
“Clearly, we can only do it if it’s safe to do so, because I think the worst thing for our tourism sector would be to start, then see the R rate rise out of control, see a second peak that overwhelms the NHS that we then have to slam on the brakes again,” he said.
Potential for a new bank holiday
Mr Dowden’s comments come after the acting chief executive of the official tourist agency VisitBritain, Patricia Yates, warned that Covid-19 would cost the tourism sector over £37 billion.
According to a Downing Street spokesperson, the government was considering a proposal by VisitBritain to create an additional bank holiday to the UK calendar for 2020. This would help to make up for lost earnings in the tourism industry caused by two of the May bank holidays taking place during lockdown.
The potential new bank holiday was proposed by the group to fall around the school half-term holiday in October.
The Downing Street spokesperson said the government was “supporting the tourism industry during this challenging time,” and would respond to VisitBritain’s proposal in due course.
“It is worth acknowledging that an extra bank holiday comes with economic costs,” the spokesperson said.”