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Lincolnshire tourism sector will recover say business and tourism experts

The nationwide lockdown which began last weekend came just as businesses in the county’s leisure and tourism sector were expecting to increase trade following winter.

Lincolnshire based Duncan & Toplis is one of the Midlands largest accountancy and business advice firms, working with hundreds of businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The visitor economy in Greater Lincolnshire generated £2.4 billion last year, with 21 million visitors, mainly coming in the spring and summer months. The two organisations are warning that while this could be almost wiped out by coronavirus, as companies could potentially miss out on making revenue at what is normally the busiest time of year.

However, the two organisations anticipate a surge in trade once restrictions are eventually lifted.

Head of Tourism at Duncan & Toplis, Michele Coe-Baxter expressed sympathy with business owners but said she’s confident that the sector will bounce back once restrictions are lifted:

Michele said:

“Coronavirus could not have come at a more unfortunate time for businesses which depend on tourism. Most caravan parks for instance, will have only just opened and hotels and guest houses will have been eagerly waiting for the influx of visitors with the arrival of Spring.

“This is going to be devastating for businesses, many of which won’t have had significant revenue since September and owners will have invested in their businesses over the winter expecting to reap the rewards now.

“While it might seem like an impossible challenge, I’m confident that most businesses will be able to weather the storm and there will be much better times ahead.

“While there is uncertainty as to exactly how they will work, the government’s recently announced packages of support for businesses – and particularly those in the leisure and tourism sector – will help lessen the impact. I’m also confident that, in the long term, we will see an increase in visitors to places like Lincolnshire as people decide to avoid crowded airports and enjoy their holidays in the UK instead.

“I urge all business owners to apply for the support they’re entitled to, look after their employees and focus on making their businesses as efficient as possible during the lockdown. Businesses should also focus on making sure they’re in the best possible position for when the restrictions eventually lift so they can make the most of the tourist boom we anticipate, whenever that might be.”

Visit Lincoln is a not for profit community interest company which works with around 240 private businesses to promote leisure and tourism in Lincoln and Lincolnshire.

The organisation’s interim CEO, Charlotte Goy said:

“While coronavirus is impacting all industries, the tourism & hospitality sector is among the hardest hit and things are extremely tough for people who work in this sector and who own businesses.

“While business owners might be firefighting right now, I’d urge them to also think about the future and plan for their recovery.

“Lincolnshire has several attributes which should mean we’re well placed to capitalise when people start to go on holiday again when restrictions lift: We’re in a rural setting with fresh air and a sense of freedom, which I think people will find attractive when they’ve been stuck inside and they’re wary of crowded areas. And, of course, I expect that people will be more drawn toward staying in the UK for their holidays in future, so that should put us in a strong position.

“The situation right now is awful, but things will get better.”

Since the budget this month, the government announced a package of measures designed to support the leisure and tourism sector, with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the lifting of business rates for holiday and touring park businesses, the availability of grants, the ability to defer VAT payments until 30th June 2020, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

For more information about how your business can access these measures, visit the relevant pages of the government website here, or for more information, support and business advice, contact Duncan & Toplis.

Duncan & Toplis

Duncan & Toplis was established in 1925 and has 11 offices throughout the East Midlands: in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Loughborough, Louth, Melton Mowbray, Newark, Skegness, Sleaford, Spalding and Stamford. The group offers accountancy, tax and business advice, audit and assurance services, HR, Payroll, wealth management, IT services, legal and probate services and provides business turnaround support to SMEs. The business has 413 employees, of whom 65 are currently engaged in professional training.