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CLA urges public to support rural tourism after pandemic

Millions of people have had to cancel their holiday plans because of coronavirus this year, and now the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) –  which represents 5,000 rural tourism businesses – is urging them to re-book breaks in the UK once it is safe to do so.

Choosing a ‘staycation’ is not only greener but is a great way to support the local economy.

Rural tourism is worth £18.5 billion a year to the economy and employs over 600,000 people. Yet, almost overnight, many businesses have shut down for an unknown period of time. This is having crippling consequences on a beloved industry.

Going on holiday in the UK is also one of the easiest steps you can take to reduce your emissions. An average domestic flight gives off three times more Co2 emissions per km travelled compared to travelling in a car.

Many farms now provide holiday lets, camping, bed and breakfasts and farm stays as a way to support their business. These farmers, who have already suffered from flooding and uncertain trading conditions, now face another hammering to their income. They need the support of British holidaymakers after this crisis is over.

The CLA is seeking reassurances from the UK Government on support for the sector, such as:

· A clear definition of which businesses make up the tourism industry so every business that needs it can access relevant Government support schemes.

· Fast payments of financial support to struggling firms, including wage cost support.

· A flexible approach from the insurance industry when dealing with rural tourism business claims.

· Clear and prompt guidance on what will happen to support schemes in the next 3-6 months so businesses can put in place recovery plans.

CLA Vice President Victoria Vyvyan said: “Once the coronavirus pandemic is over, millions of people will want to take a well-deserved break.

“When re-booking their holidays, we are asking people to consider staying in the great British countryside to support local businesses. The hard truth is that thousands of businesses, who are extremely welcoming to their guests, will go bust without their support.

“Choosing a staycation not only helps out small businesses up and down the country, but is also a great way to lower your carbon footprint."

CLA South East represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

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