Tourism Experts Suggest MPs Consider Adding Another Bank Holiday In October
Leaders of the UK's tourism industry want to bring in an extra bank holiday close to the October half term in order to give ordinary folk a bit of extra time off work after missing out during lockdown.
Patricia Yates, the head of Visit Britain, told MPs that doing so could give the UK's tourist sector a much-needed shot in the arm and help to extend the holiday season beyond August to maximise revenue.
Speaking to the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Committee, Ms Yates said: "The idea that we could possibly have a bank holiday in October, because the industry has lost the benefit of the two May bank holidays, I think that's an idea being considered.
"What we're going to need to do is not just stimulate people in July and August to really extend the season for the domestic market."
She continued: "To get British tourism up and running this summer, and this summer is hugely important, is we need that domestic audience.
"The worrying thing is the lack of confidence in the British public about travelling, so 74 percent who have a holiday booked for July and September don't think that holiday will take place.
"Only 19 percent of people are thinking of booking a domestic holiday for the summer.
"And that's much lower than competitor destinations. If you look at Italy, it is talking about 43 percent of its domestic audience going on domestic holidays [this year]."
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Obviously, while the whole country has been cooped up at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism and travel sector has taken an absolute battering.
That counts doubly so given that we've had some decent weather over the time we've been told to stay home, the kind of weather that might make you head on out to a local tourist spot, or head further afield to one of Britain's many attractions.
Anyway, with overseas travel currently nearly completely off the cards, that presents an opportunity to revitalise the UK's tourism industry when all of this is over, encouraging people to head on out to somewhere a bit more local.
That's where the idea for a new bank holiday starts to make sense.
With the Easter long weekend and the May bank holiday having passed us all by, another holiday later in the year could go some way to making up for that.
Also, we're now allowed to travel to beauty spots, provided we don't stay there overnight.
It's worth remembering, however, that while tourism gets a boost during bank holidays, other industries suffer.
Experts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research have estimated that bank holidays can cost £2.3bn ($2.8bn) per day if folks are allowed to down tools.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: "We will of course respond to that in due course. It is worth acknowledging that extra bank holidays do come with economic costs, however.
"They have been in contact with us, we would always do the courtesy of considering what they are suggesting and we will reply to them in due course."
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