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Tourism leader toasts reopening of pubs but says industry has been let down

Jim Jones, MD of North Wales Tourism Ltd in Llanduddno.

A tourism leader is looking forward to welcoming visitors back to North Wales after Covid restrictions ease.

However, he criticised the Welsh Government for the “confusion and anxiety” they had caused.

It’s been revealed that from May 17, people in Wales will be able to have a pint of beer or a glass of wine inside a pub for the first time in five and a half months.

But Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, also took the opportunity to hit out at the Welsh Government’s treatment of the tourism and hospitality sector.

Mr Jones said it would take a long time for them to forget the reluctance to provide them with a roadmap to recovery.

Pubs and restaurants were closed in December because of rising Covid numbers.

According to First Minister Mark Drakeford, the time was now right to allow the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – to reopen on May 17.

However, he added it would be for an incoming Welsh government to confirm the arrangements when the next three-week review is held on May 13, a week after the Senedd election on May 6.

Mr Jones said: “Whilst this is a welcome step on the road to recovery, let’s not shy away from calling out reluctance by the Welsh Government to provide the business sector with a roadmap and alignment with England where 80 per cent of our business comes from. This is something the tourism and hospitality sector will not forget in a hurry.

“A great degree of anxiety and confusion for many of our tourism and hospitality businesses has been caused unnecessarily right the way through this whole pandemic.

“This and continued financial support has always been our number one ask.

“However, moving forward, and at long last, we now have dates to work to, which will be a great relief to so many.

“The opening of indoor hospitality and indoor attractions gives our businesses some certainty to plan their restart, recruit extra staff members, order stock to cope with pent-up demand for indoor dining, reopening of our restaurants and cafes, which we anticipate will be huge.

“We’ve all been through so much during the last 12 months, and we will welcome back visitors to North Wales with open arms.

“We want the them to enjoy the delights and experiences of North Wales, but please at the same time recognise and respect what our communities have been through also.”