Travel industry pushes for extra bank holiday later this year
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Leaders in the U.K.’s tourism industry are calling for another bank holiday to be added to the calendar as a way to help local businesses recover from the past year’s economic upheaval.
The most recent bank holiday on 3 May was essentially a washout across much of England due to rain and cold weather, so it did little to aid tourism-dependent operators who have seen business plummet since the start of the pandemic.
“It was only the second bank holiday most tourism businesses have been open for in the last 14 months – and indoor attractions still aren’t open, except in Scotland,” Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), told The Independent.
Businesses that are part of ALVA reported a 70% decline in visitors in 2020. For those establishments, a long holiday weekend arranged for later this year could bring in 15% to 18% of their annual income.
Kate Nicholls of U.K. Hospitality, which represents the bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, also said an extra bank holiday was needed in a Twitter post.
So how are bank holidays established? According to the House of Commons Library, bank holidays can be added or changed by Royal Proclamation. The Queen did this as recently as 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee.
There are two dates on the calendar some observers say make the most sense for the extra bank holiday. The first would be Monday 20 September. That day not only would have the advantage of more daylight, since the autumnal equinox comes two days later, but because it is the 54th anniversary of the launching of the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner.
The other potential option would be Monday 27 September. The one obstacle with that date is that it is also the day when students are set to return to a number of universities.
Ultimately, whether an additional bank holiday is added will be determined in due course. At this time, the first thing on the mind of many Brits is if international travel will be permitted to resume this month.
Featured photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images.
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