Extend job retention scheme, says Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat Tours has suggested an extension of the job retention scheme until the tourism season starts again next March.
The Windermere-based operator made the suggestion in light of a poll by tourism trade association UKinbound. The study revealed that unless government support is provided, 88% of tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs) are set to make large scale redundancies as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The trade body’s survey of its tour operator and DMC members, who are responsible for bringing in and looking after over 50% of all international visitors to the UK (and over 70% of visitors from the USA and China), found that without further Government support:
60% will be forced to make further redundancies in August when the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme tapers off
88% expect to make between 25% and 100% of their staff redundant
Over half (53%) expect their business to last no more than six months
The number of businesses expected to turn over more than £500,000 from international visitors will fall to just 34% in 2020, compared to 71% in 2019
The number of businesses expected to turn over more than £5m from international visitors in 2020 will fall to just 2% from 27% in 2019
Stephen Broughton, owner and managing director of Mountain Goat Tours, said: “My business has been operating for over 40 years and normally turns over £2 million revenue annually. We specialise in running small, personalised tours in the North of England and Wales for both domestic and international tourists and last year over 50% of our revenue came from overseas visitors.
“While the lifting of quarantine measures is very welcome – the reality remains that we are already over half way through the tourism season and many people will be reluctant to travel overseas for some time. We are hopeful that we will be able to increase our share of domestic visitors this year but social distancing requirements on transport is also making this side of the business unviable.
“An extension of the job retention scheme until the tourism season starts again next March would be fantastic and would make all the difference to the survival of our business. Our most valuable asset is our staff and we are in an area where tourism is the main source of employment. We need to do everything we can to maintain a livelihood for them.”