Consumer spending within the hospitality industry has remained at less than 70% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Despite turnover increasing to £6.9bn in May 2021 from £1.2bn the prior year, the figure is still around 25% lower compared with May 2019.
Spending by businesses in the hospitality sector saw smaller increases compared with consumer spending in May 2021, yet payments to suppliers from food and drink businesses have remained around “half” of pre-pandemic levels.
Pubs and nightclubs which were “one of the worst affected sub-sectors” saw turnover in May remain 39% lower than for the same period in 2019, and both have “consistently” remained below 2019 levels since the pandemic began.
The drop in turnover was also mirrored by the data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which showed that in April 2020, 1,650,000 employees in the sector were on furlough as businesses paused trading, falling to just under 590,000 employees furloughed at the end of May 2021.
The report added: “As we moved through the pandemic, the hospitality sector adapted to the changing restrictions, with the proportion of businesses temporarily closed falling from 81% in the spring 2020 lockdown to 54% in the early 2021 lockdown.”