As borders close, airlines reduce schedules and the FCO warns Britons against international travel, the wider tourism industry has seen a devastating decrease in revenue and demand. However, the wave of coronavirus losses is now hitting the UK’s domestic tourism industry, with VisitBritain predicting the tourism sector will lose approximately £11 billion in the summer months if the extensive lockdown measures continue until the August bank holiday weekend.
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With the Easter weekend fast approaching, the UK should be gearing up to a busy time for domestic trips, with families heading on camping trips and for days out to museums and other cultural hotspots.
According to the BBC, last year in April and May it is estimated that Britons took 10 million domestic holidays and in that time spent £2.1 billion.
However, with the government continuing to urge the nation to stay home, it could be a very different outlook for businesses this year.
One of the most heavily impacted areas is predicted to be seaside resorts where they rely largely on tourism for a majority of their income.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Susie Brown, owner of The Twenty One guesthouse explained the impact restricted movement has already had on bookings.
“It’s a very surreal situation actually. We’ve had so many cancellations, obviously,” she said.
“They started coming through in February, and they are still coming through now right the way through to August.
“At first when this happened we were so worried financially but now we’re all really more worried about our health.”
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Meanwhile, B&B owner from North Yorkshire pointed out other financial losses on top of cancellations as some business insurers say they can’t payout as the virus “isn’t on their list”.
Britons are further being urged to stay away from beaches, parks and other outdoor spaces after an increase in foot traffic sparked concerns about overcrowding.
Though Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the government is “not planning any changes imminently” to social distancing rules, which currently allow for walks and daily exercise, measures have been taken to close some car parks and public spaces to deter people from driving to them.
“What we are doing is being absolutely clear that the current rules must be followed,” he said.
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“So I say this to the small minority of people who are breaking the rules or pushing the boundaries: you’re risking your own life and the lives of others and you’re making it harder for us all.”
It isn’t just hotels and resorts that are suffering monumental blows.
A museum owner from Brighton painted a picture of the massive changes his business has already experienced in the first few weeks of national isolation.
“We are losing out really seriously with no footfall, no visitors, no schools,” said Chris Littledale, founder of Brighton’s Toy and Model Museum.
“A beautiful museum has suddenly become a ghost museum because nobody is here.”
In a bid to help reduce financial devastation for hotels and other tourism businesses, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis implores Britons to think about “ethics and morality” before asking for a cash refund.
Many hotels and other vendors are offering customers vouchers for future stays and experiences in a bid to curtail losses.
Those who would not find themselves in a “financial bind” by accepting vouchers over a refund are encouraged to do so.
He explains: “I would say in this day and age we are trying to keep as many companies surviving as we can.
“If you can take the voucher and that wouldn’t compromise you and your finances taking that voucher form this company may just be what keeps this company going and keeps its staff in a job.
“So I’m not telling anybody to do that, I’m saying we must all look at our own personal, ethics, morality and situation which is very important to decide how hard we are going to push in these unprecedented times.”
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