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Tourism Industry Calls For Extra Bank Holiday After Difficult Year In 2020

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Tourism Industry Calls For Extra Bank Holiday After Difficult Year In 2020

The UK tourism industry has called for an extra bank holiday later this year to help make up for difficulties in 2020, saying it could also serve as thanks to the NHS and key workers.

The news comes after annual figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) showed there was a 70 percent decline in visitor numbers at British attractions last year.

The figures were published today in ALVA's annual visitor figure report, which revealed there was a fall of 45.4 million visits across the 294 sites, down from 151m visits in 2019.

Credit: ALVA
Credit: ALVA
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ALVA director Bernard Donoghue said: "Our annual figures for 2020 reflect what a devastatingly hard year the attractions sector and the wider visitor economy faced.

"Tourism is the UK's fifth biggest industry and, as these figures show, was hit first, hit hardest and will take the longest to recover."

Donoghue, who is also the Mayor of London's Culture Ambassador and Co-Chair of the London Tourism Recovery Board, has called for an extra bank holiday to be introduced at the end of September this year.

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Tate Modern in London. Credit: PA
Tate Modern in London. Credit: PA

He continued: "As we approach Easter, one of the economically important times for our members, we continue to question the government's decision to open non-essential retail but not indoor attractions, who will also miss the May bank holiday as well.

"In the past 14 months, most of our members have been closed for every bank holiday, and therefore we continue to ask the government to introduce a new bank holiday for 2021 at the end of September to thank the NHS and key workers and help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets.

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"In the budget, earlier this month, we welcomed the fact that the chancellor recognised several of our requests including an extension to the furlough scheme and keeping VAT at 5% until the end of September, and we ask him to keep an open mind on further extending that rate for as long as necessary."

Outdoor attractions fared slightly better, with three - Kew Gardens, Chester Zoo and RHS Wisley - making it into the top 10 for the first time.

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RHS Wisley. Credit: PA
RHS Wisley. Credit: PA

The most visited attraction for the year was Tate Modern with 1.4m visits, followed by the Natural History Museum and the British Museum.

Donoghue had called for the extra bank holiday ahead of the figures being released, saying in a tweet last month: "To partially compensate for the lack for Easter for outdoor attractions, & for Easter, all of April & most of May for indoor attractions, @alva_uk is calling for @GOVUK to introduce an additional Bank Holiday in late September. We have had just 1 crucial Bank Holiday in a year."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, bank holiday, News, tourism

Jess Hardiman
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