Rural tourism businesses will be able to reopen from 4th July, the government has announced, prompting a sigh of relief from rural organisations.
Boris Johnson announced yesterday (23rd June) that pubs, restaurants, hotels, campsites and caravan parks can all reopen from 4th July. Members of two different households will be able to eat, drink or dine together in England if they stick to physical-distancing guidelines.
The 2m distancing rule is also set to be dropped to ‘1m plus’.
Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on UK hospitality and tourism. The Prime Minister’s announcement is incredibly welcome as it offers people the chance to enjoy a holiday in our beautiful countryside and coastal beauty spots, giving a much-needed boost to fragile local businesses.”
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) also welcomed the move and encouraged the public to book their self-catering holidays in the beauty and safety of the British landscape.
President Mark Bridgeman said: “We hope that people are looking forward to enjoying the tranquility and space that the rural and coastal areas have to offer and enjoy. There is nowhere better for a holiday than the Great British countryside.”
However, the organisation has warned that rural tourism businesses could see revenues fall by up to £17.6 billion this year. Mr Bridgeman reiterated calls for the government to support the sector by reducing VAT on tourism businesses.
At 20 per cent it is far higher than many other countries such as France and Spain (both 10 per cent) and Greece (13 per cent).
“A reduction in VAT would help domestic tourism to be competitive,” he added. “Competitive pricing, along with the promotion of domestic tourism, will significantly boost the economy and also help reduce our carbon footprint.”