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16th July 2021

Report reveals short-term stress but long-term optimism for hospitality industry

Written by: Edward Waddell
A new report from CGA and UKHospitality shows the scale of Covid’s impact, sets out causes for confidence and highlights the need for financial relief.

‘Hospitality: Covid and Beyond’ provides a definitive assessment of the pandemic’s impact on the sector including the loss of more than £80Bn in sales in just 12 months, the permanent closure of nearly 10,000 licensed premises and a collapse in inbound tourism.  

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food at EEMA, said: “Covid-19 has inflicted massive damage on our sector, closing thousands of businesses, wrecking hundreds of thousands of jobs and wiping out billions of pounds in sales, and we will feel the effects of the pandemic for years to come.

“But as restrictions wind down, our research points to plenty of reasons to be optimistic—not least from the release of the latent demand for the special experiences that only hospitality can provide.

“Our sector is well placed to drive economic recovery and mend the UK’s damaged social fabric, but it can only do that if it gets proper and sustained support from government across a host of urgent issues.”

The report also analyses hospitality’s recovery since trading restrictions began to ease in April, with signs of optimism about the future. Nearly four in five businesses leaders (79%) feel optimistic about market prospects for the next 12 months despite some upcoming challenges such as staff recruitment and high debt levels.  

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, added: “Hospitality is a fragile sector after 16 months of impinged trading, but true to the very nature of hospitality, many of our business leaders are nevertheless optimistic about the future as this report demonstrates.

“There is no doubt it will be a rough recovery but UKHospitality will be working with the Government, industry stakeholders and our members to gain support from Government and reduce any unnecessary red tape or burdensome legislation so we have a conducive operating environment to aid a fruitful return to pre-pandemic trading levels.”