An organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Mid Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to announce a specific support package to help the industry through the Coronavirus crisis.
MWT Cymru, based in Machynlleth, wants the package to at least cover part of the cost of job losses during the crisis and to waive this year’s business rates for all tourism and hospitality businesses, irrespective of size.
The company will be lobbing politicians in Cardiff and Westminster to make the case for government support for the industry.
Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, said it was important to the Welsh economy that tourism and hospitality operators emerged from the crisis in a position to carry on their businesses and continue attracting visitors to Mid Wales.
She and her staff have been busy for the past two weeks handling calls from worried businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and South Gwynedd.
MWT Cymru is in close contact with Visit Wales, the Wales Tourism Alliance and a number of other organisations. The company is also gathering intelligence from Mid Wales businesses to feed back to the Bank of England and UK policymakers.
“The importance of the tourism industry to the rural economy in Wales cannot be overstated,” said Mrs Hawkins. “More than 100,000 people are employed directly in the tourism sector across Wales which also supports thousands of jobs in the associated supply chain.
“Our members are doing everything they can to protect their businesses so that they will be in a position to carry on and provide jobs at the end of this crisis.
“Businesses need an immediate cash injection to help them through this period of uncertainty. We urgently need to hear from the Welsh Government what help is available to these businesses which, in many cases, are now, reluctantly, having to consider laying off staff and closing temporarily.
“The UK Government’s offer of unlimited loans for businesses in general is very welcome because I think businesses will need help to resume after the crisis.”
As the scale of Coronavirus and its impact on the industry comes into sharper focus, Mrs Hawkins said MWT Cymru remained committed to offering full support to its members.
“One of the most frequently asked questions we're receiving from tourism and hospitality members is: ‘Should my business remain open?’,” said added. “Unfortunately, there is no easy answer and it will depend on personal circumstances or a business decision.
“Around the world we’ve seen positive stories of businesses and communities coming together collectively to face the challenges faced by Coronavirus,” added Mrs Hawkins.
“We are asking our members to help us spread good news stories and positivity during these troubling times by using #RealMidWales on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to let us know how their business is helping people deal with the pandemic.”
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