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Boris urged to grant EXTRA September bank holiday following 'devastating' year for tourism

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Bosses in the badly hit sector are calling on the Government to introduce another holiday at the beginning of autumn to offer a boost for ailing businesses. Restrictions are set to remain in place throughout the April and early May bank holidays so art galleries and museums do not stand to benefit from the leisure days.

Bernard Donoghue, the director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), is leading calls for Boris Johnson to step in to “help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets”.

He said a bank holiday in September, a year and a half after the pandemic hit, could be seen as a way to “thank the NHS and key workers” for their efforts throughout the crisis.

He said the past 12 months, since the first national lockdown was imposed in England, was a “devastatingly hard year” for British tourism.

While millions of Britons will be off work on Easter Monday and May 3, much of the tourism sector does not stand to reap the benefits.

Theme parks will be allowed to reopen on April 12, but indoor settings such as rides and 4D cinemas may remain closed.

Self-catering venues are also on track to reopen to the public on the same date.

By the time the spring bank holiday comes around on May 31 hotels may welcoming guests.

The government has said hotels cannot open until May 17 at the earliest.

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It showed an annual decline of 70 percent from the number of visits to the top 294 ALVA attractions compared to 2019.

In 2020 the figure was recorded at 45.4 million compared to 151 million the previous year.

Tate Modern, which welcomed 1.4 million people through its doors, ranked the most popular.

The Natural History Museum and the British Museum ranked in second and third place.

Amid fears of Covid spreading more easily in indoor settings, the report showed Britons favoured outdoor attractions last year.

Kew Gardens, Chester Zoo and RHS Wisley made it onto the list of Britain’s top ten visitor attractions for the first time.

Chester Zoo was the most visited attraction outside London, coming in at sixth place.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Donoghue predicted a long road of recovery ahead for the industry.

He said: “Tourism is the UK’s fifth biggest industry and, as these figures show, was hit first, hit hardest and will take the longest to recover.”



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