THE owner of several hospitality businesses Mark Cribb has spoken about the impact of rail strikes on Bournemouth’s hospitality industry.

This comes as MP Tobias Ellwood announced that the strikes would have a £1 billion impact on the sector nationally.

Mark Cribb, owner of the Urban Guild series of restaurants in Bournemouth, had first hand experience of the impact of the strikes.

Read more: Rail strike in Dorset: Key information on train services

He said: “I guess the biggest impact is that we've got a wedding booked in at one of our venues on Thursday.

“And I know the lady is very concerned as to whether her guests are going to be able to get here and whether there will be cancellations. So without a doubt, it is having an impact.

“I think our local customers, no problem at all. But I think this time of the year in, in the summer season, in tourism time, with a lot of people coming in from out of town, then yes, it's having an impact.

“The key one is things such as weddings or an event that people are travelling for.

“And I think it will definitely have an impact on how many visitors come into the area over the summer."

Read more: Rail strikes: Bournemouth train station deserted

Mr Cribb says the strikes are bad timing for businesses trying to recover from Covid.

He said: “It’s a key time, we only have a very short season in the UK for tourists. We’ve spent the last number of years encouraging people to travel.

“With staycations we have a great opportunity, with the problems that are going on for international travel, to really show off this country at its best because it's a wonderful place to travel, but unfortunately, we shoot ourselves in the foot by making it difficult.

“So I think it's a key time for the country's recovery from the last two years of COVID.

“It's very disappointing that we make life harder for ourselves by doing things like this, when we're bouncing back from two years of chaos. I think it’s poor timing.”

MP Tobias Ellwood said: “These strikes will not just hit commuters and students seeking to take their exams but also our incredible hospitality industry such as here in Bournemouth.

“UK Hospitality have stated the total impact will be over £1 billion across the country. This is a devastating blow given a sector was only just getting off its knees following the impact of COVID.

“Bournemouth’s economy has many strengths and tourism and leisure remains one of our largest sectors.

“This is the time of the year, with the good weather and late summer evenings, that must be leveraged by hospitality to help them during the leaner times of the year.

“I hope common sense can prevail and an agreement can be reached so future planned strikes will be called off.”