Coronavirus: Dorset's tourism & hospitality sector needs more than just financial support

Coronavirus: Dorset's tourism & hospitality sector needs more than just financial support

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:09am 15th May 2020.

Tourism and hospitality businesses in Dorset don't just need financial support to recover from Covid-19.

There are calls for more guidance on how they can operate safely.

That's one of the findings of two surveys which have been carried out.

These surveys have recently been issued to businesses in Dorset by Dorset Council’s Visit Dorset team and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Tourism plays a major role in Dorset’s economy, valued at around £1bn per year and supporting almost 40,000 jobs.

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Finn Morgan, Business Engagement Manager at Dorset LEP said:

"Tourism, hospitality and retail businesses across the county are experiencing a major impact on business operations, with a vast majority now experiencing cash flow issues.

"Many are accessing government financial support and a small number able to operate by making changes to access requirements, or diversifying their products, but what we're hearing now is a need for longer term guidance and information to aid business recovery."

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There are calls for the Tourism sector to find a way to reopen in order to keep jobs safe, but Dorset LEP say further advice will be needed from the government.

  • 80% of businesses across the Dorset Council and the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Council areas are closed temporarily during lockdown.
  • 58 businesses have permanently closed in Dorset, representing accommodation, restaurants, attractions and pubs.

Dorset Local LEP board member, and Dorset Tourism Association Chair, Richard Smith, shared:

"It's clear from the evidence being collected across the county that Dorset's tourism businesses need to find way to reopen as soon as possible.

"If tourism is to remain restricted, the sector will need additional support to protect jobs, especially over the winter. 

"We are drawing up guidance about how we can do so as safely as possible."

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Cllr Gary Suttle, Dorset Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Skills and member of the Dorset LEP board, said:

"We are reviewing the ever-evolving direction from central Government and are working on how the ease of lockdown will effect Dorset's business community. 

"We are also working hard on how we best support local business through what will be a challenging recovery period and understanding the longer-term impact on Dorset's economy. 

"The recently announced new discretionary scheme will benefit many more businesses which have so far not been eligible for any of the existing packages of support."