Bank holidays have been a strange phenomenon in lockdown. A whole extra day off to spend... at home. Well, Visit Britain (and all of us, quite frankly) seems to think it’s only fair that, after all this, we get a bonus bank hol to make up for all the lost action. The UK tourism agency has proposed an extra day off in October to help extend the UK’s holiday season and boost the sector, which has already lost a significant number of summer bookings. And it’s so serious about the idea that it’s taken it to the government.
But don’t get your hopes up for an October getaway just yet. The government says it will respond to the proposal in due course, but that it has to consider the impact of an extra day off for the UK’s workforce. A spokesman said: ‘It is worth acknowledging that an extra bank holiday comes with economic costs.’
The acting head of Visit Britain, Patricia Yates, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that it was expecting a £22 billion drop in trade from domestic tourism in 2020, and that, ‘to get British tourism up and running this summer is hugely important, as we need that domestic audience’. This is on top of a drop in overseas visitors that could lead to an additional loss of £15 billion, according to Visit Britain.
Currently, people across the UK in lockdown are not permitted to have overnight stays away from their home, and the hospitality sector will not open up until step three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown – so the soonest date for hotels and surrounding hospitality venues reopening would be from July 4. Visit Britain hopes this bank holiday measure could help extend the UK’s holiday season and make up for the losses of May’s two bank holidays spent at home.
The proposed bonus day off would tie in with October’s school half-term holiday. Although it seems hard to imagine what October might look like, an extra long weekend wouldn’t go amiss.
Plans for this bank holiday? Make them with our weekend guide.
Thinking about a day trip? Read up on what you can and cannot do under eased lockdown.