People are claimed to be cancelling summer holiday bookings in Wales and re-booking in England

The CEO of one of the UK's leading tourism organisations has said that people with bookings in Wales are now cancelling and re-booking in England and Scotland, where there is "certainty". Jim Jones, boss of North Wales Tourism, a company that supports businesses across that region, has issued a plea to First Minister Mark Drakeford for clarity around dates for re-opening, saying the tourism industry has to be open in the summer in order to survive. Mr Jones said he was starting to get an influx of messages from visitors cancelling due to the uncertainty as they didn't want to take the risk by booking in Wales.

"We closed the industry at a time where tourism and hospitality is dependant upon this time of year. We have lost millions of pounds in income," he said. "The most frustrating thing for our businesses is the not knowing and being left in limbo.

"We understand how careful Mark Drakeford is being, but the tourism sector is also about communities, we have thousands of people who depend on their livelihoods in this sector who have poured their heart and soul into it." The Welsh Government's next lockdown review is due to take place on Thursday, June 18.

Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism

Wales will continue to take a "cautious approach" to lifting lockdown following what it has learned from other countries, International relations minister Eluned Morgan said at Wednesday's coronavirus briefing. But she said the discussions on the five-mile rule, which restricts how far people are supposed to travel in Wales, would be "in the melting pot" when they met on Thursday.

"All we have been asking is for the Government to be clear, I know more about what is going on in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and in Europe than in Wales," he said. "Some people put the whole of their life savings into these businesses, it's very sad. "We have to be open in July and August in order to stop our businesses from going over the cliff edge.

"Now we think it's time for action, give us some hope, we are all in this together, at this moment in time there's no income coming in at all." "I really hope the Government are listening. If Mr Drakeford doesn't deliver on some of these things to give us hope then it's going to be an awfully dark mood across the sector."

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Mr Jones said that before lockdown, which came in at the end of March, businesses and tourism were booming. "I am optimistic that common sense will prevail and there will be some relaxations to his cautious approach, something needs to be done about the economy otherwise we are looking at years of massive unemployment. "We know furlough is not going to be extended after October, but if we are not able to operate In July, August and September, I fear that there's going to be a lot of redundancies.

"We need to start being like England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and give us some firm dates for when we can start to plan. "What's really hurting is the not knowing," he added.

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Jim is not alone with these fears, last week tourism leaders from some of the most popular attractions in Wales warned they were on the "brink of collapse" as they demanded a re-opening plan from the Welsh Government. The Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (WAVA), which has more than 65 members including Folly Farm, Zip World, Welsh Mountain Zoo, Snowdon Mountain Railway and Dan yr Ogof Show Caves, has claimed the industry is on the "brink of collapse" after being unable to welcome paying customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government issued a statement last week where she said they didn't want the sector to be in any doubt at all that the safe re-opening of the tourism economy was at the forefront of their minds. "We hear what businesses are saying and are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing but we have to be guided by the medical and scientific advice to ensure we only lift restrictions when they are safe to do so," she said. "It is also crucial the sector knows that, together with other nations, we are fiercely lobbying for additional financial support from the UK Government.

"The next review point is on June 18."

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