REGIONAL Welsh Conservative MS Suzy Davies has today (02/02/2021) urged the Welsh First Minister to clarify when the struggling Welsh tourism sector can reopen.
Questioning when outdoor visitor attractions could reopen, Ms Davies reiterated the sector's understanding of the need to reopen only when safe to do so but emphasised the difficulties of planning to stay "closed as opposed to open."
She said: "Their immediate concerns, apart from workforce planning though, are the arrival of rates bills and the possibility of travel being permitted elsewhere in the UK but not in Wales, and of course, that will affect people's holiday decisions."
Carrying on, the South Wales West Member questioned what support would be available to the sector: "What prospect is there of Welsh Government introducing a further business rates holiday for the sector pending reopening?"
Ms Davies concluded by asking the First Minister: "How important do you think...that some attempt must be made to align the reopening dates across the UK, notwithstanding the different tiers or alert levels, certainly between England and Wales?"
By his own admission, the First Minister described the tourism sector as experiencing "a torrid time during coronavirus." During 2019, Welsh tourism generated £6.2 billion in visitor spend and provided jobs for 130,000 people.
The pandemic's impact resulted in the immediate shutdown of 97% of tourism businesses, and 80% of the sector's staff furloughed. The first lockdown further compounded the pandemic's detrimental impact , coinciding with the start of the tourism season.