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15 Apr 2020

Tourism Society emergency meeting addresses impact of delayed lockdown on tourism industry

The Tourism Society scheduled an emergency meeting on 15 April to discuss breaking news relating to lockdown timings.

The move comes following statements by president Macron indicating that although France will begin to lift lockdown by 11 May for schools and businesses, tourism businesses in France will remain closed until at least mid-July.

Macron is preparing a special package of support for tourism businesses as a result.

His position has been reinforced at a European level by European Commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, who told German newspaper Bild that no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August and that in her view, holiday travel won’t be an option until September at the earliest.

The UK is thought to be 2-3 weeks behind Europe in terms of the stage of the pandemic, pushing the likely resumption of tourism in the UK to the autumn and meaning operators will miss the vital summer season.

The Tourism Society debated the question: "What will an extension of tourism closure to the end of August/early September do to the industry?" in a closed Zoom session, reviewing the need for government support and the issues which will need to be addressed once tourism opens for business again.

In an op-ed published on 15 April, tourism expert and honorary fellow of the Tourism Society, Ken Robinson, outlined the industry's options and ways forward, saying: "The whole world is in the same situation – our challenge is to be ready when the new opportunities emerge, to be ahead of the game, and be an inspiration to others.

"We must all work for a future where the economic, social and cultural benefits of tourism are available to all."

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