Call for government to give Brits money to take their holiday in UK this summer

GIVE Brits cash to spend on holidays in the UK this summer, in order to boost ailing tourism businesses. 

The idea is one of those being discussed by Visit Britain Acting CEO Patricia Yates, who is concerned about the survival of many businesses in the UK that rely on holidaymakers. 

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In Italy, the government is offering to give lower-income families up to €500 to take a holiday in their own country this year.

When asked about whether the UK should follow Italy's lead, Visit Britain's Ms Yates told Sun Online Travel: "The big question is how consumer behaviour has changed, because normally after a crisis it bounces back and there is pent-up demand.

"But now we have a crisis in both supply and demand.

“There is a worry that people who usually take domestic holidays are old people and families, and these groups are usually the most risk averse too."

She continued: "For every country, kickstarting the domestic market is really important and Italy has gone with that idea.”

"It is an interesting suggestion for us, if we look at what others are doing. 

"So we could be looking at marketing campaigns or yes, you could give money straight to people and incentivise them to holiday at home.”

However, Ms Yates warned that the success of a summer holiday season this year depends on the government being "very clear" on what people are allowed to do, to improve people's confidence on travelling.

While hotels may be able to open at just "20 per cent to 30 per cent to start with"," Brits may not be willing to travel any time soon.

Caravan and camping parks are optimistic that, if they can open by July, they can restart the summer holiday season, and naturally social distance.

She explained: "If this is the year for domestic holidays then July and August are really important months for businesses to be open. 

“The normal pattern is businesses make their money in July and August then make do for the rest of the year. 

“Lots of businesses are saying that if they miss summer then they will stay closed for the rest of the year."

However, holidays are not allowed just yet in the UK, with non-essential travel still banned.

Police have carried out dawn raids on campervans and tents after holidaymakers spent the night in Cornwall against lockdown rules.

Tourism businesses are in dire straits as a result of lockdown, and in Cornwallalone, up to 80 per cent of businesses could close for good unless they are able to open for the summer.

Visit Cornwall chief executive Malcolm Bell issued the stark warning as the coastal region has seen tourist numbers plummet due to the pandemic

Meanwhile, Pete Waters, Chief Executive of Visit East warned that the economy has already taken a hit in the east of England, with a drop of £2.3 billion in 2020 – approximately 23 per cent.

He added: "It is an existential crisis for the visitor economy across the country and we don't know what the long term damage will be."

Brits could enjoy a staycation in the UK from July, the Culture Secretary suggested earlier this week, after Oliver Dowden said officials were working on "ambitious" plans to try and get the UK's tourism sector up and running.

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