The UK’s largest leisure trade association fears a collapse in the attractions and hospitality industry, unless current government restrictions on re-opening are relaxed.
The stark warning has been issued by the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA), which represents the interests of the UK’s commercial leisure parks, piers, zoos, visitor attractions and family entertainment and indoor play centres.
The non-profit making trade association which has more than 400 members is making an urgent appeal to the government to re-think its approach.
“Over the last 24 hours, we have sadly seen the announcement of two significant UK attraction closures; Wicksteed Park, the oldest theme park in mainland UK, and the Torquay visitor attraction Living Coasts,” said Paul Kelly, BALPPA chief executive.
“We fear that these are just the first of many casualties in the wider UK attractions and hospitality industry.
“These closures are due to a lack of clarity from the UK Government, which has seen ‘hospitality’ being lumped into a single category; regardless of significant operational differences, which has been left at the back of the strategic reopening queue.
“The Government has paid no recognition to the stringent Health & Safety measures and complex operational structures this industry already had in place, and which have continued to swiftly evolve in light of the current pandemic.
“Behind these attractions are longstanding British businesses and valued local employers who have supported livelihoods and communities for decades, in destinations which have played a key part in cherished family holidays and safe family days out in the past.
“How many more attractions and destinations will the UK Government allow to close over the coming weeks without stepping in and allowing them to reopen as soon as possible, to save British businesses and save British jobs?
“We urge them to give clarity and support to the industry before we see more of these companies suffer,” he added.
Founded in 1936, BALPPA is the non-profit-making Trade Association representing the interests of owners, managers, suppliers and developers in the UK’s commercial leisure parks, piers, zoos, family entertainment centres (indoor play and soft play centres) and static visitor attractions sector.