Luke Fletcher MS calls for long term thinking on the tourism crisis

Plaid Cymru’s economy spokesperson Luke Fletcher MS has warned that the “lack of restart grants like those seen in England and Scotland” will result in businesses using up their “already depleted reserves.”

Mr Fletcher says that big outlays such as restocking perishable goods and making premises COVID-secure haven’t been covered by the types of restart grants that have been made available in Scotland and England. Mr Fletcher has also highlighted the gap in ERF funding between the months of March and May as causing “additional unwelcome grief” for business.

Owner of the Wynnstay hotel in Machynlleth, Charles Dark, says that while he’s always been taught to “make hay while the sun shines” and has remained positive throughout the pandemic, the uncertainty over how long this holiday season will last has given him extra cause for concern. Mr Dark says extra costs to make the premises COVID-secure, the increased costs of needing more staff to run the same service, and the gap in funding during April has resulted in him having to take out loans to stay afloat, and the depletion of his reserves makes it all the more important to be able to “make hay” this summer.

Plaid Cymru’s Luke Fletcher MS has called on the Government to act to show its “long term commitment” to the industry by introducing restart grants.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for the Economy, Luke Fletcher MS said,

“Labour Welsh Government have stated their aim of increasing tourism and supporting hospitality in Wales, but haven’t backed that up with the type of support available in Scotland and England – namely restart grants.

“Prior to the pandemic, many of these venues provided help to their local communities – be that meals for health workers, or outreach for isolated members of the community – and they are desperate for Government help now.

“It’s not just about the money – we need the type of action that demonstrates the Government’s long term commitment to this important industry. If government really were listening to the sector, they’d know that many small and medium Welsh businesses are genuinely concerned for their future, even now, at the start of the tourist season.”

Charles Dark, owner of the Wynnstay Hotel in Machynlleth says

“At the start of the pandemic it really felt like the Welsh Government was behind Welsh hospitality businesses like mine. However, the gap in funding during April really set us back – we were unable to take in money from paying guests and yet still had all the monthly overheads to meet.

“I’ve always been taught to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and have kept on top of the funding available to the business, but even then I’ve had to borrow money to see us through the winter. I am genuinely concerned about this winter.”