Tourism bosses call for certainty from government on opening plans

Frozen beach huts on Brackenbury Cliffs, Felixstowe. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Frozen beach huts on Brackenbury Cliffs, in Felixstowe - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tourism bosses have called for more clarity from the government to allow them to plan for the summer season, after what they claim has been mixed messaging from Whitehall.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson warned it was “too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer”, and transport secretary Grant Shapps claimed “people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now”.

Despite this, it emerged that health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has booked a holiday to Cornwall.

Nick Attfield, director of properties for Adnams, which owns several inns and hotels, said: "The sooner we get a real pathway to reopening the better.

Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams, said the change in restrictions would make a huge d

Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams - Credit: JAMES BEDFORD/ADNAMS

"More important to us than the dates of when we reopen is the precise details of what restrictions we will be opening under.

"That will mean we can make the right decisions on how to train our staff, how to communicate with our customers and whether it is sensible even for us to even open.

"I would quite happily wait until May if that's the right thing to do.

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"Get vaccinations sorted to drive the R rate so low that we never have to do something like this again. I would rather do that than rush into reopening. And have to close down again. 

"We know there's a huge amount of pent up demand. Despite everything the government has done in the past few days we know that people are still booking staycations with us.

"It does give me hope for when we do reopen."

Peter Deer, managing director at Fred. Olsen, said: “Ultimately, what we need from the government is for the advice against cruising to be lifted and thereby follow the general travel advice.

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred. Olsen cruise lines

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred. Olsen cruise lines - Credit: Pagepix

"This does not mean that as soon as the advice is lifted, we will immediately resume sailing. We continue to work with the Cruise Lines International Association, our industry body and the government to agree the right time to do so.

 “By removing the advice not to sail, the government will help further boost consumer confidence, following an earlier boost through the successful roll-out of vaccinations so far.

“Once the Government advice is lifted, we can then start to plan our return to service in more detail.”