The hospitality industry is bracing itself for a surge in cancellations ahead of Christmas due to rail strikes. Pubs and restaurants anticipate up to 40 per cent of bookings during the party season will be cancelled because of the travel disruption.
Strikes throughout this month are expected to cost hospitality firms around £1.5billion, industry bosses have warned. Network Rail has said that passengers should only seek “necessary” travel on strike dates, with several dates planned throughout December.
From Tuesday the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will take part in a series of strike days in a long running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. The RMT is due to hold strikes on December 13, 14, 16 and 17, as well as from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 7am on 27 December.
Union leaders have continued to blame the Government for “blocking” a deal to end the dispute. Trade body UKHospitality has warned that the strikes are now leading to a surge in cancelled bookings.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the industry group, said: “UKHospitality continues to anticipate that the rail strikes throughout December will cost hospitality businesses around £1.5 billion in lost sales and subsequent impacts.
“The most severe impact we’re seeing now is on consumer confidence and the growing cancellations businesses are seeing as a result of the strike.
“Feedback we’re hearing from members is that cancellations were already around 20-30per cent and with the news of no breakthrough and additional strikes further impacting consumer confidence, we’re expecting that cancellation rate to rise to 35-40per cent.”
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