In some of the best news we’ve heard in a very long time, word has it that the government is considering adding an extra bank holiday in October this year.
Spring has brought with it the usual slew of bank holidays we can normally look forward to – we’ve already had three since lockdown began and there’s another on the way this coming Monday – but with strict lockdown rules in place, options of how to spend them have been limited, leaving little to get excited about at all.
But it’s businesses that have been particularly affected by this – bank holidays normally spur a huge surge in domestic tourism, with long weekend staycations and family days out happening all over the country. However, with lockdown showing little sign of waning any time soon, this is going to have a drastic effect on businesses, big and small, across the UK.
Which is why Visit Britain has proposed the idea of an extra bank holiday in October to the government. Patricia Yates, the acting chief executive of Visit Britain, told a committee that the extra bank holiday would help extend the holiday season and encourage UK residents to travel at home.
It’s thought that domestic tourism contributes around £80 billion a year, but in 2020 this is looking to be down by about £22 billion – a sharp decrease that would result in many businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors going under.
With foreign travel restrictions expected to stay in place for some time, 2020 looks to be the year of the staycation – but what this will look like is still very unclear. With post-lockdown anxiety already swelling, it may take a lot of work to persuade people to start travelling again, even with the UK. ‘Given that it has to be the year of domestic tourism, there’s a real job to be done there in convincing people that it is socially responsible to travel and enjoy a holiday, and that it is safe to do so,’ Yates said.