2020 a 'roller coaster' for businesses, says Plymouth tourism boss

    Amanda Lumley says many are struggling to recover after lockdown

    2020 has been like a being on a "roller coaster" according to Amanda Lumley, the CEO of Destination Plymouth. 

    The tourism and hospitality sectors were shut for 12 weeks during the lockdown.

    "We estimate that in Plymouth, up to the end of July, we probably lost about 40 percent of our annual visitor spend in the city, and that's had a huge impact on our businesses," says Amanda. 

    "Reopening on July 4th couldn't come soon enough for many of them."

    Most businesses like restaurants and cafes can now open, with the Government launching it's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme this week. You can find a list of participating outlets here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant

    Amanda says while it is a relief that businesses can start welcoming customers again, they are still on the back foot: 

    "Even though we're now in the peak summer season, many of our businesses are not able to operate to capacity. 

    "In some cases restaurants are operating at 40 percent of their capacity.

    "If they're not able to make those profits, they won't have enough income to keep them going over the winter, so it's a real concern. I would urge everybody to continue to support your local restaurants and shops, because they need every pound you can give them at the moment."

    Following the Government's decision to impose a 14-day quarantine for those arriving back in the UK from Spain, Amanda thinks even more people will be put off travelling abroad this year.

    It has also been predicted there will be a surge in so-called 'staycations' in Devon and Cornwall this summer. 

    Amanda says: "We can provide a great holiday experience in Plymouth. We can provide a beautiful waterfront, fantastic heritage, great restaurants, fantastic seafood, fresh produce and some fabulous shopping.

    "Our businesses are working really hard to welcome people and to make sure they're looked after, as much as possible."

    WATCH - How a Plymouth B&B is preparing to welcome guests back this summer:

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