To understand the basis of hospitality restrictions on the UK’s doorstep, we need to look at the history. After all, this is where the word “ania” comes from. That is Covid-born and brought up in Hemel Hempstead, a seaside resort and tourist attraction with water parks, theme parks, a giant theme park and a local library filled with books on British History. So, naturally, it is not hard to imagine that this would be a town where the hospitality industry thrives. This is exactly the type of place which are central to the tourism and hospitality sector in terms of trade, and that is why it is why there are no restrictions on trade between this town and the capital city, London.
However, this year, Covid-based MP, Robert Davis has been invited to give a speech in the UK’s Parliamentarians’ Questions, welcoming the relaxing of hospitality restrictions. The problem many UK politicians face is that they have completely misread the current situation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The current law states that a guest coming to the Republic of Ireland may only enter via an international airport or by sea. The Irish government has made an appeal to the UK to reconsider its position, but so far the UK government has refused to budge. So, what is the problem? How can one citizen of one country have an entry permit to another one?
First of all, the hospitality industry is very much dependent on travel. It is impossible to be a hotelier if you do not have tourists visiting your establishment. Secondly, the current restrictions make it impossible for many hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay open in the UK due to the inability of the UK Borders and Police to provide sufficient infrastructure. If a hotel has only one room available it is not viable. A large bed and breakfast have room for twenty or more guests, and therefore a business case needs to be made in order to keep rooms and still allow for hotel staff to work. The lack of a solution to this problem has led to a rise in complaints and hospitality restrictions within the UK.
There are three main areas of hospitality that are affected by the current situation. They are tourism, business and the tourism industry itself. Hospitality restrictions impact upon the tourist industry in two ways. Firstly, they limit the number of non-refundable tariffs that can be charged at the entrance to UK borders. Secondly, they limit the amount of hours that can be spent queuing at queues and waiting to get into water parks and other entertainment centres.
If we look at the hotels in the UK then the problems seem to be less severe. However, the largest problem is indoor dining, and there are many hotels that are unable to meet their minimum occupancy requirements due to Covid-19 restrictions. The most popular restaurants are the Spoons in Cardiff Bay (opened in 2021), The Carlton (opened in 2021), The Dorchester (opened in 2021), and The Dorchester Hotel (opened in 2021). All three of these are located in the city centre of Cardiff. Of course, many of these have recently upgraded to meet the new minimum occupancy requirements.
One of the first questions to arise is whether the UK government is serious about taking steps to remedy the situation and prevent any potential disruption to the covid-19 legislation. A government spokesperson released a statement saying, “The UK is a leading nation with world-class transport links, excellent museums, galleries and world-class hotels and this represents the key to UK success.” They went on to state that the government “will not stand by whilst the UK’s hospitality sector is damaged by regulatory failures and rising regulation”. However, it seems that this will only be a brief respite from what is already a worrying situation. There is speculation that the next tier of legislation, the G.B.C., could impose additional demands on operators of luxury hotels.
One of the challenges facing the Covid-19 is the impact of the G.B.C. on the brand name “BT” – the company that owns the British Airways airline. The brand name is part of the intangible assets of BT, and any diminishment in its value would cause significant problems for the company. It is widely believed that the next tier of legislation, which is the infrastructure bill, could cause difficulties for operators of luxury hotels in Wales.
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered. As the deadline for the draft infrastructure bill nears, we expect that questions surrounding the impact of the G.B.C. on the hotel market in Wales will be addressed. When it comes to the future of Wales, it seems that things are moving at a rapid pace, and hospitality in the area is one area where it is expected to showcase a strong future.