BLOG: Hospitality and the visitor economy in 2021

A mixed picture for hospitality and the visitor economy

 So we’re a few days into a so-called ‘freedom’ where most Covid restrictions have been lifted.

Yay, though? The industry is back to ‘normal’.

Hmm, not really. The challenges to business over the last 18 months have been unprecedented, and insurmountable for many businesses that have had to close permanently.

According to The Drinks Business turnover in the UK hospitality sector was down by nearly £72 billion last year, equivalent to nearly £200m a day in lost sales for Britain’s pubs and restaurants.

But no-one can go abroad on holiday – business must be booming in UK tourist destinations, right?

Yes and no. The pwc UK Hotels Forecast makes for pretty bleak reading. And there is still the issue of public confidence. How many people are choosing to book self-catering accommodation somewhere pretty but would rather not eat out or visit tourist attractions? What about businesses in areas that are, shall we say, less pretty.

And now there is a new challenge with the easing of restrictions. A phenomena quickly becoming known as the ‘pingdemic‘, whereby vast numbers of people are required to self isolate following notification from the NHS Track & Trace app. Hospitality has suffered huge staff shortages owing to this phenomena, with many establishments having to temporarily close at a time (during a July heatwave) where the bounce-back should be beginning in earnest. Even for those that remain open, and busy, the pingdemic is causing supply chain issues.

It’s not all doom and gloom – many leaders are confident that these sectors can and will bounce back. Local and national government continue to provide support for this important cog in the UK’s economic machine.

If you’re hopeful of a bounce-back, still have some ambition and want to get past reactivity (it’s been a year+ of fire-fighting) into proactivity then the always possible team are here for you.

This month we will give away at least one free package of support to a business in hospitality / food & drink / tourism.


We will work with you to create a practical, visual, 12-month roadmap that clears the fog and nails some big decisions about an aspect of your business which you feel could benefit from some expert help.

Our team includes specialists in growth, strategy, communications, impact, productivity, evaluation and more; across a range of sectors.

Complete a short form to register your interest today with no obligation. One of the team will call you to let you know more and get a sense of your challenges and opportunities.

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Different perspectives on hospitality and the visitor economy

“You think about what you were doing before…and it was a completely different world. I don’t know if you can just snap back – even after things reopen”

In November 2020 we spoke to award winning food critic and broadcaster Jimi Famurewa about his hopes and fears for hospitality after corona.
 (39 minute listen)

An interview with London Night Czar Amy Lamé on big city night-time economies and the work being done to protect livelihoods
 (35 minute listen)

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