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Visitor Economy Business Survey Results

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Thank you for taking the time to complete our Omicron Business Survey. We have shared the analysis with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Lincolnshire Members of Parliament, your councils, Visit Britain and Visit England, Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality.

The visitor economy has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and so this data proves invaluable when asking for more financial support. By sharing the analysis, we hope you too can feel confident when meeting with councils and key stakeholders about available funding, such as the Additional Hospitality Grants (ARG) which are managed by local authorities.

For guidance on the Omicron Hospitality Grants, please click here. For more information on the Additional Hospitality Grants which are managed by local authorities, please click here.


  • 39% of respondents are extremely worried, 32% are very worried, and 28% are somewhat worried about the business impact of Omicron (the remaining percentage formed from other answers).
  • 77% of respondents are worried about more restrictions.
  • 84% of businesses have already been impacted by Omicron.

- 70% have been impacted by cancellations
- 70% have been impacted by reduced footfall
- 53% have been impacted by reduced consumer confidence
- 50% have been impacted by rising costs
- 46% have been impacted by cash flow
- 45% report their cashflow has been impacted
- 44% have been impacted by supply chain issues
- 41% have been impacted by needing to reassure staff

(Respondents could select multiple options)

  • Based on the current outlook, 33% of respondents reported their business was quite likely to fail in 2022. 6% reported their business was very likely to fail (remaining percentage formed from other answers).
  • On average, over the past two years, turnover has been down by:

- 25% for 26% of respondents
- 50% for 34% of respondents
- 75% for 19% of respondents
- 100% for 3% of respondents

(Remaining percentage formed from other answers)

  • Since the beginning of December, turnover has been down by:

- 25% for 33% of respondents
- 50% for 25% of respondents
- 75% for 15% of respondents

(Remaining percentage formed from other answers)

  • If trade is restricted by Omicron, cash reserves are impacted as follows:

- 23% have no cash reserves
- 25% have 1 – 2 months cash reserves
- 22% have 2 – 5 months cash reserves

(Remaining percentage formed from other answers)

  • If there are no support packages, the main consequences for respondents are:

- Reduced opening hours
- Making staff redundant
- Temporary closure
- Cease trading
- Making significant cost cuts

74% of respondents thought they needed Government to reinstate financial support and interventions in 2022.

  • The Government interventions and support packages businesses feel would help most in 2022 are:

- Additional sector-specific grants (75%)
- Reintroduction of furlough (50%)
- Returning to the 5% VAT rate (49%)
- Continuation of business rate holiday (35%)
- More deferred VAT payments (15%)
- More Covid-19 loans (15%)
- Government reassurance on safety to travel (22%)
- Removing Covid-19 restrictions (25%)

(Respondents could select multiple options)


In December 2021, we welcomed the news that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak had announced a £1bn fund of cash grants to support England’s visitor economy sector in response to the rise in Omicron cases.

Key headlines:

  • £683 million for grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England comprising one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for eligible businesses
  • £102 million top-ups for the additional restrictions grant for local authorities to support other businesses
  • £30m for the cultural recovery fund to support theatres and museums
  • A statutory sick pay rebate scheme that will reimburse employers in the UK with fewer than 250 workers for the cost of paying statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for up to two weeks.

Although this announcement may have brought relief to some businesses, we launched a survey to learn more about your experiences as business leaders and business owners, and the type of support you may need as we look to 2022. The research was supported by three other leading business organisations, the Federation of Small Businesses, Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership who all have links into national Government through their networks.

Charlotte Goy, Chief Executive at Visit Lincoln, said:

"It is critical that local insights are fed into Visit England and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on the immediate impact that the pandemic is having on the Greater Lincolnshire sector:

“We have to keep government officials, at a local and national level, up to speed about what is impacting business owners and operators on the ground. Clear lines of communication are essential to make sure information gets to the right decision-makers. There is lots of talk happening, but data is critical. Data shows an undisputable insight into what businesses need considering the rapid changes they are having to adopt with the move to Plan B. The survey results will give valuable insight into the current state of the industry in Greater Lincolnshire and how Plan B is impacting on confidence, the bottom line of businesses working within the visitor economy and the revenue they can generate.”

Nicky van der Drift, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) Visitor Economy Board and Chief Executive of International Bomber Command Centre added:

“As a business leader and the Chair of the Visitor Economy board, I urge as many of my network to fill out the short survey as possible. We have the channels available to us to put forward a very clear ask, but it has to be backed up by robust data and insight. Plan B has been instigated, but at the moment we have no indication for how long – as a result, we have to make sure the voice of Greater Lincolnshire’s visitor economy is heard as key decisions are being made.”

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive, Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce:

“Consumer-focused service businesses such as retail, hospitality, leisure and those in the supply chains are most exposed to the new measures namely because they have come during the critical Christmas period, where those businesses are relying on consumer interaction and spend, with most of this vital to sustaining cash flow ahead of those typically quieter months. We are therefore urging businesses across the visitor economy sector to take part in this research and share their experiences so we can continue to keep Government officials up to date and further back up the calls for support to alleviate the pressure on those worst affected businesses.”

Katrina Pierce, Development Manager at the Federation of Small Businesses:

Katrina said that the impact of the Omicron variant on local businesses is of deep concern but the lack of support is causing more problems:

“Hospitality businesses were the very first to feel the sting of Covid measures when the public was warned to stay away from pubs, bars and restaurants before the formal lockdown was imposed, and it was many more days before any word of financial aid was announced. 21 months on and these businesses again find themselves trying to trade amid messages urging the public to think twice, and without a penny of support to help them manage at what should be their busiest time of year. We need to get hard data on the impact all this is having so we can escalate the issues to Government and lobby hard for fair and targeted support. I hope as many Lincolnshire businesses as possible will take part in this vital research”.


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