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Supreme Court Decision on Holiday Ban Hits South West Hardest

April 10, 2017 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

Highlighting the challenges tourism businesses face, ensuring they can withstand quieter times outside the peak time school holiday period, she comments “As a sector there will be some disappointment at this ruling for many reasons. 

“First of all it will continue to hit employees and employers who work in the sector as it is impossible for many of them to take leave during the busy holiday season.  This means they will be unable to holiday with their families if they cannot take their children out of school. When the legislation first came in a number of years ago there was an immediate impact and loss of pre-summer holiday bookings in the early summer and this will continue.

“7% of employment in Plymouth is dependent on tourism (14% in Devon), far more than most cities or counties in the UK so this will affect many people.  Likewise holidaymakers travelling to the South West will pay higher prices if they are limited to holidaying during school holiday periods as it stretches demand and prices inevitably rise. It will penalise lower income families first as they will not be able to afford to go on holiday.

“The majority of business already happens during school holidays when accommodation providers are at capacity, which in turn means businesses have a huge challenge off-peak, ensuring their business is robust enough to manage and survive through the rest of the year.  It’s one reason why we have seen a number of investors in accommodation actively state they will not invest in new development (due to the seasonality) as making that a viable business is very challenging.

She was clear to point out that Destination Plymouth did not support parents taking their children out of school without permission and without very good reason, and highlighted the potential ‘silver-lining’ to the South West and the hard hit UK holiday industry.

“We have seen a 1.6 % rise in visitor spend in Plymouth between 2014 and 15 and visitor numbers continue to grow positively and as we move towards the Easter holidays, and the good weather hits us, Plymouth is buzzing and very busy. Many accommodation providers are confirming good early season bookings and the impact of the weaker pound from Brexit means that many international visitors are booking English holidays again.  It’s clear many families are looking at ‘staycations’ as an option and that has to be good for the industry.”

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