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Bristol hoteliers issue new call for Government support

Hoteliers in Bristol say more Government support is urgently needed to protect the long-term future of their businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA), with the furlough scheme set to end next month and new restrictions such as the ‘rule of six’ presenting additional challenges to the hospitality industry, hotel bosses say more support is needed quickly to help their businesses survive.

Many members of the (BHA) saw their premises operate at around two-thirds of their potential occupancy rates last month, with a few hotels not yet re-opened.

The association said while August was a good month overall for most hotels given all the circumstances, business was still below what was achieved last year.

An important source of income for many hotels is weddings and conferences, which have been hugely affected by the limitations of being able to have no more than 30 people attending any such gathering.

Raphael Herzog, chair of the BHA, said: “We need the Government to allow more people to attend weddings and conferences. This would provide a huge boost to our ability to continue to operate and would give event organisers more confidence to make bookings, whereas at the moment they are reluctant to commit because there are so many restrictions.

“We have made significant investments and implemented many procedures to make our hotels safe for guests.”

He added: “Hotels are going to have to think outside the box when it comes to Christmas and see what we will be able to offer in a safe way. The furlough scheme, the eat out to help out scheme, the business rates holidays and the reduction in VAT have all been beneficial to many businesses, and we’re grateful for them.

“But ultimately, they are only temporary measures. We need the Government to commit to providing some longer-term support in order to enable us to keep our businesses running and to help the economy recover from this crisis.”

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