MONMOUTHSHIRE council has said it is preparing to welcome tourists back to the county, but some business owners working in the sector have said they are “fearful” their businesses won’t survive the post-lockdown period.

The likelihood is that requirements to stay local will be lifted on Monday, July 6, as well as self-contained accommodation being allowed to reopen the following week.

A report from the Wales Tourism Alliance published in June showed that the impact of the pandemic on the sector resulted in the shutdown of 97 per cent of businesses with 80 per cent of staff furloughed.

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The report said that the sector generated £6.2 billion in visitor spend for Wales and provided jobs for 130,000 people in 2019.

In Monmouthshire, the sector welcomed 2.28m visitors who spent almost £245m and supported more than 3,100 jobs.

Owners of Road House Narrowboats in Gilwern, Nigel and Sally Curtis, say they are now “fearful for the future”.

“Over the last nine years we have redeveloped and heavily invested in our business,” Mrs Curtis said.

“We invest our profits during the winter and then rely on our spring and summer takings to see us through the next 12 months.

“With last year’s income invested over the winter of 2019 in the business and living expenses, we have no substantial capital and no income potential so far this season. This will have a devastating financial impact on our business and livelihood.”

Mr Curtis, who is chairman of the Commercial Operators Group that represents five other boat hire companies, added: “Since the UK government’s guidance for no unnecessary travel we ceased hiring and have had to postpone or cancel the bookings that we held for this year on a month by month basis.

“It frustrates us that a percentage of the the public seem unconcerned about safety when flocking to the beaches, parks and open spaces with no regard for the social distancing rules, and yet all businesses are having to spend time and money putting safety procedures in place to protect themselves and their customers.”

Monmouthshire County Cllr Paul Jordan, cabinet member for tourism, said: “The pandemic and February’s floods have hit the county’s tourism and hospitality businesses severely, so we very much look forward to welcoming visitors back to Monmouthshire.”

The council says it is encouraging tourism businesses to obtain the new Visit Wales ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard to demonstrate they adhere to government and public health guidance.