ONE BILLION REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL!
Coronation celebrations will give ‘historic’ boost to economy
THE Coronation will help deliver a £1billion boost to struggling parts of the economy, experts predicted last night.
An influx of tourists combined with community gatherings for the royal spectacular on Saturday are expected to set tills ringing in pubs and shops.
The trade body UK Hospitality believes the sector could be in for a £1billion boost this month thanks to the coronation, two other bank holidays and eurovision in Liverpool.
The British Beer and Pub Association expects pubs alone to enjoy a £120million windfall this coming weekend, with 62million pints sunk during extended opening hours.
retailers will cash in on sales of flags and bunting as well as food and drink bought for street parties and private celebrations.
The economic outlook is not all rosy and the extra bank holiday is likely to be a drag on growth. However better weather and signs that inflation is finally starting to ease are giving grounds for optimism. ‘We’ve had a
very torrid start to the year,’ said Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality. ‘You’ve had soaring food price inflation, soaring energy costs, increases in interest rates that are hitting loans and businesses hard as well.
‘So we’re really hopeful that with a good springboard from May, some better weather, and some more positive news on the economy – where we appear to be slowly turning a corner – this can start off the reign of King Charles on a really positive note.’
A poll released by the Institute of Directors showed business confidence rose for the fifth month in a row in April.
UK Hospitality represents 750 firms operating around 100,000 venues from coffee shops, hotels and pubs to restaurants, caterers and bowling alleys.
Many are struggling, having survived pandemic shutdowns only to face skyrocketing costs that are impossible to pass on to customers whose finances are being sharply squeezed. Staff shortages and rail strikes have also taken a toll.
Figures from UK Hospitality suggest the Coronation weekend will add £350million to spending while the two other bank holidays will add £300million each. Another £50million could be delivered by Liverpool hosting the Eurovision song contest.
Ms Nicholls said: ‘May has the potential to be a historic month for the hospitality sector, which is set for one of its busiest times in recent memory.
‘We know the British public turn out in their droves for big events and we expected the Coronation and Eurovision to be no different. Whether it’s the traditional street party to celebrate the King or a watch party in Liverpool for Eurovision, hospitality will be at the centre of both events and we anticipate this will translate to a huge uplift in sales.
‘Bank holidays alone are always popular for eating and drinking out and staycations and combining this with two historic occasions is incredibly exciting for hospitality at a time when the support of the public is absolutely essential.’ Visitor numbers were boosted last year by the platinum jubilee as well as by the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.
Hotels are seeing strong bookings particularly in London around the Coronation weekend as well as in other parts of the country as tourists head for places with royal connections such as Windsor, Balmoral, Sandringham, Edinburgh and Cardiff.
‘You’ve the pub or the restaurant at the heart of the community providing those Coronation celebrations for people who want to watch it on big screens,’ Ms Nicholls said.
‘You’ve got pubs that have got marquees up ... it’s such a unique, one-off event. We don’t have coronations that frequently.’
The Coronation bank holiday is expected to provide a bigger boost than a normal bank holiday would because it will attract more international visitors.
Eurovision meanwhile has seen hotel bookings surge around Liverpool with demand spreading to Manchester too.
A study from the Centre for Retail Research predicted there will be £246million of spending on souvenirs and memorabilia from coins and flags to teapots and jewellery with £847million going on celebrations such as street parties.
The retail industry is hoping for a bounce in shopper visits similar to the 9 per cent uptick for the platinum jubilee.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said: ‘We expect a royal bounce in shopper footfall and a significant uptick in retail sales.’
Latest data from restaurant booking platform OpenTable and travel website Kayak pointed to a big increase in searches for flight and hotel availability for visits to London.
Simon Wells, chief European economist at HSBC, said the economy was proving resilient despite households facing a big squeeze on their incomes and higher interest rates being a potential drag on the recovery.
He added: ‘The British Lion may not quite be roaring for the Coronation. But it is holding its head up high.’
‘Turning out in their droves’