UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has backed calls for an October bank holiday after Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies raised the matter with him in the House of Commons today.
Tourism businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and four of this year’s UK bank holidays have taken place during lockdown. Tourism agency VisitBritain has therefore proposed a bank holiday this October to help boost the industry.
Taking part in today’s House of Commons proceedings, James said it has been estimated that the additional bank holiday could boost the economy by £500 million and asked the Minister whether he would “seriously consider the proposal.”
The Minister called the idea an “excellent proposal” and said he has been having discussions with the Business Secretary about it.
Speaking afterwards, James, who also questioned the Minister over what steps his department is taking to help the tourism sector to reopen safely after the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased, said:
“I very much welcome the Minister’s support for this proposal. The Vale of Clwyd relies heavily on tourism and the local economy has therefore suffered greatly as a result of this pandemic.
“As the Minister said one of the challenges facing us is “getting the sector up and running as strongly as possible in the Summer and extending it for as long as we can”.
“With the Welsh Education Minister having announced this week that the autumn half term in October will be stretched to two weeks, introducing a bank holiday in this month too would provide families with the opportunity to visit tourism destinations and holiday in the UK.
“North Wales has plenty to offer tourists and it is vital that we encourage people to holiday here once it is safe to do so. I therefore also welcome this Minister’s pledge to invest extensively in an major campaign to encourage British people to take British staycations and call on the Welsh Government to do the same.”