Tourism bosses have called on the government to grant an extra bank holiday in September in order to boost the hard-hit tourism industry, The Daily Mail reports. Theme parks, museums, and galleries have struggled hard to remain afloat during the lockdown periods, and are still likely to suffer this year due to the absence of foreign tourists.
Bernard Donoghue, head of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said it has been an 'extraordinarily tough year for the tourism sector'. He comments: 'We continue to ask the Government to introduce a new Bank Holiday for 2021 at the end of September to thank the NHS and key workers and help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets.'
With most outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks set to reopen on the 12 April, they will miss the Easter weekend. Indoor attractions such as aquariums, museums and theatres can open no earlier than 17 May, meaning they will also miss out on the first May bank holiday weekend.
Mr Donahue points out that 2021 will be an ideal summer for British people to enjoy the attractions of their own country, as cultural and heritage venues will be quieter than usual, due to social distancing measures and the absence of foreign tourists. He adds that tourism is the UK’s fifth biggest industry, and it has been hit the hardest by the pandemic restrictions.
The ALVA figures show that there has been a huge drop in overall visitor numbers to leading attractions since the pandemic hit, but people were still visiting parks and gardens. For the first time, two gardens appeared in the top ten most visited attractions— Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and RHS Garden Wisley.
Outside of London, Chester Zoo was the most visited attraction, with 1,182,652 visits.
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