Quarter of Yorkshire tourism firms fear going bust in 2022, survey finds

More than a quarter of Yorkshire tourism firms fear their business is “quite likely to fail” in 2022 as the pandemic continues to hit their operations, a new survey has suggested.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 11:45 am
The Piece Hall in Halifax

Ongoing research being conducted by the Tourism Alliance with the support of Welcome to Yorkshire has spoken to 150 regional tourism businesses so far.

Peter Box, chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire, urged more tourism companies in the region to participate in the online survey to help make the case to the Government to provide extra support for the industry in 2022 as it continues to deal with the impact of Covid on business operations.

He said: “Tourism and hospitality are the backbone of Yorkshire’s economy and must be protected.

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“This survey presents an opportunity for the industry to make a powerful case for further and sustained Government intervention.”

To date, the survey has found one-third of businesses have reported seeing their revenue fall by more than 50 per cent since Covid arrived, with more than half having fewer than two months of cash reserves to rely on.

Almost five per of respondents said it was “very likely” their business would fail in 2022 given the current outlook.

A further 26 per cent saying they were “quite likely” to fail.

A total of 57 per cent of firms have seen their revenues fall by at least 20 per cent, with 33 per cent reporting income decline of over half their pre-pandemic levels.

A lack of any cash reserves at all were reported by 19 per cent of those questioned, with 53 per cent having less than two months.

Mr Box said the recent announcement of Government support is a welcome step but may not go far enough.

“I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of a £1bn fund to support hospitality and leisure businesses.

"However, the rise of the Omicron variant means that the situation is incredibly fast-moving so it would be helpful for businesses to complete the survey sooner rather than later and to share the link with relevant contacts.

“I note that the Chancellor has also boosted the Additional Restrictions Grant for councils to support businesses by a further £102m.

"I would encourage hospitality businesses to contact their local authorities for details on how to access this support.”

The package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this week includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the affected sectors in England, which the Treasury expects will be administered by local authorities and to be available in the coming weeks.

The Government also intends to use taxpayers’ cash to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 employees.

Cultural organisations in England can also access a further £30m funding during the winter via the Culture Recovery Fund.

Mr Sunak said: “We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.”

Tourism in Yorkshire pre-pandemic was worth £9bn annually to the county’s economy and employed almost 225,000 people.

The survey is running until January 10 and details are available on Welcome to Yorkshire’s website.