Monday, 28 September 2020

Millions lost in tourism income

OXFORDSHIRE is losing between £112 million and £137 million per month in tourism-related activity as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Research by Experience Oxfordshire, the county’s tourism body, shows that 84 per cent of businesses reported a revenue drop of more than 50 per cent and 36 per cent reported that between 76 and 100 per cent of their future business had been cancelled.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said they had temporarily closed their business and some were uncertain as to whether they would be able to re-open due to not being able to afford rent in the absence of custom returning. Others had already closed permanently.

More than three-quarters of businesses reported that their staff had been furloughed rather than made redundant.

Hayley Beer-Gamage, chief executive of Experience Oxfordshire, said: “This study clearly shows the severe impact that covid-19 is having on Oxfordshire’s visitor economy.

“An industry that has historically thrived and grown, and provided vital social and economic value, is now at serious risk.

“We need to be able to manage a phased recovery and understand what that looks like for the sector, which is now extremely vulnerable.

“Our study is already showing potential losses of more than £1billion in 2020 and this is set to increase further as lockdown, phased opening and social distancing continue.

“We are lobbying for as much support for visitor economy businesses as possible so our sector can once again thrive.”

Nigel Tipple, chief executive of the Oxfordshire, Local Enterprise partnership, said: “Coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation and will cause concerns and disrutpion to businesses and sectors of all sizes for the forseeable future.

“We will continue to promote and support the county’s businesses, in particular those with the greatest potential for early recovery.

“Our visitor economy will be a criticial element of that.”

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