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Hospitality and tourism APPG launches consultation on Towns and Cities

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism has opened a written consultation as part of a new inquiry: ‘After the Vaccine - Saving the UK’s Town and City Centres Post Covid-19.’

The inquiry will be of interest to many regional conference and event venues which form key part of local hospitality and business travel infrastructure.

City and town centres across the UK have been deserted for the best part of a year, accelerating trends that have been challenging High Street businesses for years. Before the pandemic, town and city centres accounted for around 60% of the country’s economic output and more than half of the population. Due to restrictions on socialising, travelling and the ‘work from home’ order, central areas have become deserted and high streets shuttered over the course of the last year. Hospitality and tourism businesses have felt the brunt of this impact.

The consultation will tackle a range of issues including business operation, business taxation and how to rebuild these vital sectors in a green and sustainable way. The APPG said it would welcome contributions from businesses, trade associations, DMOs, think-tanks and other relevant bodies to assist with the final report. 

Oral evidence sessions began last week, with significant engagement from Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. The final report aims to set out the support that hospitality and tourism businesses in town and city centres need in the short term, along with a series of recommendations for Government on how to maximise the potential of these sectors by creating a positive trading environment. 

Chair of the APPG, Steve Double MP said: “It is clear that a great deal of hard work is needed to rebuild the economy post-Covid. Rather than being an insurmountable challenge, it gives us an opportunity to rebuild a better, greener system that works for the country. The hospitality and tourism sectors have felt the worst impacts of the pandemic, but in the long term, these sectors are well placed to drive the UK’s economic growth and recovery. 

“As we did with our Pathways to Recovery report last year, the APPG for Hospitality and Tourism will be working with businesses from across both sectors to create another sector-endorsed blueprint for Government. We hope that all organisations with an interest in hospitality and tourism will submit written evidence. Our final report will produce wide-ranging recommendations on how to rebuild hospitality and tourism in town and cities when the vaccine rollout is completed.”

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The UK’s towns and cities have been hit hardest by the pandemic and rebuilding them will be essential for the nation’s economy. Prior to the pandemic, these areas accounted for a huge chunk of the UK’s total economic output, with hospitality and tourism businesses responsible for a significant portion of this. Restoring these sectors in towns and cities across the UK will be a long and intricate process, with thousands of jobs dependent on getting it right. We welcome the APPGs focus on this vital topic and look forward to working with cross-party MPs to produce a blueprint for long-term recovery. We call on all sector businesses to engage in the consultation process.”

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