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Prolonged wintry weather of 2018 has hit hospitality sector 'hard', says industry expert

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 04 May 2018 10:24

Prolonged wintry weather of 2018 has hit hospitality sector 'hard', says industry expert

The prolonged wintry weather of 2018 has had a severe impact on the hospitality industry, says a Weston-based business expert.

The managing director of Regency Purchasing Group believes 2018 is shaping up to be the sector’s toughest year for at least a decade.

Managing director Alex Demetriou said: “Q1 was even worse for our members than we had expected. The snow meant that people simply didn’t go out, so many tables in restaurants were cancelled, as were entire events, many of which have not been able to be re-scheduled.

“If someone cancels one evening, they don’t go out the next day and have two dinners, so the restaurant and pub loses out.”

Read more: Bristol Hoteliers Association appoints Imran Ali as chair

New levels of taxation, increases in business rates, continuing pressures around the minimum wage, the exchange rate, insurance premium tax, the apprentice levy, rising food costs and the on-going uncertainty around Brexit, have also contributed to extremely challenging times for the sector.

Mr Demetriou added: “There have been some green shoots over the past couple of weeks, where we have finally seen some sunshine, and people have started to come out, but the leisure industry has already missed out on the chance for its first boost to business, which usually comes around  Easter.

"A combination of Easter being earlier, plus the bad weather, meant that this Easter was not a good one for the leisure industry as a whole. Many of the large visitor attractions are reporting numbers around 35 per cent down on the previous year.

“But with two bank holidays in May, plus the Government’s decision to allow the pubs to open for longer on May 19, the day of both the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final, hopefully things will finally start to begin picking up.”

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