Tourism facing “cataclysmic” job losses of up to 12,500 in North Wales

Around 10,500 jobs will be lost in the tourism and hospitality industry in North Wales even if it’s allowed to start trading again on July 1 – with another 2,000 at risk if it’s a month later.

That’s the stark conclusion of a survey conducted by North Wales Tourism with support from the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council.

More than 320 businesses from across the region responded to the survey this week about the dire impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The analysis showed that when they’re allowed to open, 60 per cent of them will be trading at 50 per cent or less capacity with the current social distancing guidelines.

The study looked at the impact of two different scenarios, reopening on July 1 and August 1, assuming the two meter social distancing rule was in place, that there were no domestic travel restrictions within the UK and that the UK Government furlough scheme would end in October.

According to Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, the survey had underlined the “cataclysmic” impact the pandemic was having on the sector.

He said: “If businesses are allowed to open on 1st July, average turnover loss for the year will be 58% and the forecast is for 10,500 job losses which represents 25 per cent of those currently employed in the sector in North Wales.

“If the opening date is delayed to August 1, the number of job losses increases by approximately 500 a week to 12,500 for the year, or around 30 per cent of the people employed in the sector.

“These job loss forecasts do not include job losses in the businesses supplying into the tourism sector.

“Not surprisingly, nearly half of businesses are very concerned about their financial viability opening under current social distancing rules which would mean additional costs and reduced capacity.

“The results of the survey present a very stark picture of the impacts on the tourism sector, even if businesses are free to open.

“The figures suggest that reviews of both a continuation of the furlough scheme beyond October for the tourism sector and the two metre social distancing rule are carried out, if these major job losses are to be avoided.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Ashley Rogers, the commercial director of the North Wales Business Council.

He said: “The tourism sector responded with incredible speed to this call for live feedback on what is likely to happen in North Wales and should be applauded for their support.

“We will now work with North Wales Tourism, Business Council members and partners in the public sector to see how we can use this valuable data, to best support the region.”

Continuum Attractions CEO, Juliana Delaney said “If the closed sign is not removed from the Tourism sector in Wales, it will jeopardise both this and next year’s season. That would be an economic car crash for Wales”.

Sean Taylor, President at Zip World UK said “I appreciate there is a lot of pressure on the First Minister at the moment from different opinions throughout Wales. I’m hopeful that the First Minister has the confidence to lift the 5 mile restriction on Friday and allow the Welsh Visitor economy to avoid a catastrophic economic depression. This will be based on consumer, community and staff confidence.”

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