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NEWS: COVID-19 - An Impact Report on the Professional Mountaineering Industry

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 UKC/UKH News 07 Apr 2020

IFMGA mountain guide Calum Muskett has carried out a comprehensive, independent impact report on COVID-19 to forecast its effect on the UK's professional mountaineering industry. Muskett surveyed members of the four UK mountaineering associations - Mountain Training Association, Association of Mountaineering Instructors, British Association of International Mountain Leaders and British Association of Mountain Guides - and estimates a loss of £58.8 million from 14 March - 14 August 2020 due to COVID-19.



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 Michael Gordon 07 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

"Many ineligible for govt support due to becoming self employed in the last 3 years."

I thought it was those who had become self employed in the last tax year who were ineligible? My understanding was that for those who haven't supplied 3 years' tax returns, HMRC will look at the last 2, and failing that, just the 2018/19 one.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> "Many ineligible for govt support due to becoming self employed in the last 3 years."

> I thought it was those who had become self employed in the last tax year who were ineligible? My understanding was that for those who haven't supplied 3 years' tax returns, HMRC will look at the last 2, and failing that, just the 2018/19 one.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Post edited at 21:02
 Wil Treasure 07 Apr 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I think you're right. Those who started in the last 3 years should get something - but if they were on paye for more than half of their pay for any of those years they're a bit screwed. I'm in this position (not with instructing) where I had a part time teaching job that earned me more than my freelancing, so that freelance work counts for nothing in the government's eyes.

 Angry Bird 08 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

The methodology behind the report (i.e.: questioning in the survey which filtered out certain respondents, has led to a biased sample population) means that its accuracy, and hence its value, is highly questionable. 

 LeeWood 08 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

At least we can all be happy CV-19 has shut down Nepal and air travel so we won't need to groan about those queues of rich unfit clients on Everest  

Post edited at 07:40
1
In reply to LeeWood:

> At least we can all be happy CV-19 has shut down Nepal and air travel so we won't need to groan about those queues of rich unfit clients on Everest  

Whilst I'm not the biggest fan of what occurs on Everest it is worth mentioning that it isn't the rich that are going to be the worst affected by this, it's the very poorest. With that in mind, think not of the inconvenience images of queues will cause you and instead spare a thought for those lives and livelihoods that will likely have been decimated as a result of this.

Tourism is Nepal's number one industry and the current crisis will have a massive affect on both the mountain communities and the country as a whole.

Here's a link to some positive work that's taking place currently: https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/press/support_the_sherpas-12702

Post edited at 08:49
 Calum Muskett 08 Apr 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Hi Michael. Yes, you're correct to point this out. I wrote this part of the report at the beginning of last week when the self-employment grant was first announced. It's just been updated in the new version of the report but Wil Treasure has rightly pointed out that over 50% of total income has to be earned as a sole trader.

 Calum Muskett 08 Apr 2020
In reply to Angry Bird:

We've made the methodology and its shortcomings clear in the report. We had a good response rate from the three professional associations whose members are much more likely to work in the profession as a career/part time - this data can be considered to be reasonably reliable and representative.

We had a low response rate from the MTA and have recognised that many members of the MTA are unlikely to work in the industry as a career, therefore were less likely to respond (your biased sample population). This makes the MTA data less reliable as stated in the report.

 Angry Bird 10 Apr 2020
In reply to Calum Muskett:

Hmmm... ...my reference to the biased population was in respect of those members of the professional bodies who, for example in my own case, work full time in education and freelance on the side; a situation that sounds rather similar to Wil Treasure's. I've incurred losses, but wasn't able to complete your survey because there was no option to say I was employed by the local authority. That is why your sampling was biased; by accident or design you sampled that proportion of the population who were worst affected, and then extrapolated your findings across the whole membership of the professional bodies. You're right though, adding MTA members in there too probably muddied the waters further.

Post edited at 01:34
 Mark Reeves 10 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH News:

Nice one Callum. Thanks for highlighting the plight of our industry but we are just a minor part of two arguably bigger markets (Tourism and Adventure Tourism) which past research has highlighted, one going back to foot and mouth (Adventure tourism in North West Wales i think) and the other in 2014 for Visit Wales which highlights the size of the larger issue in Wales.

The 2014 report suggests a total estimated annual contribution of outdoor activity tourism to the economy of Wales is approximately £481m or 6% of the total economic contribution of all tourism in Wales.

So by their figures £8 billion is the size of the total for welsh tourism. 

Having driven back from my mums last week, North Wales is dead, tourism is dead. It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon just after lunchtime that I drove through Betws Y Coed and it was dead. I mean a ghost town. With no one in sight, which is excellent for the fight against Covid-19 but also highlights that perhaps the whole £8 billion tourism industry in wales has simply disappear overnight.

Our plight in the Mountaineering Instructor/ Climbing industry is just a mere speck on the grand scheme of things and I think it is important to recognise that in these exceptional times that there are other people from a myriad of industries both related to ours and not going through extreme difficult times. 

http://www.outdoorrecreationni.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-Economic-Impact-of-Outdoor-Activity-Tourism-in-Wales-Visit-Wales-March-2014.pdf
 

 Calum Muskett 14 Apr 2020
In reply to Angry Bird:

I understand your concerns and those who have been worst affected would have been more likely to respond. We did have a question asking about other employment and if it would sustain you financially or not - you can find this in the appendix of the report, so I don't understand why you felt you couldn't complete the survey? Many people, myself included, have work outside the instructing/guiding sector and you can see this in the results. This study was an impact assessment of the associations that myself and Will undertook for free to show the problems that the industry faces and the help individuals will need. It's not the finest academic work but we're pretty clear on the shortcomings of the survey and it underwent academic scrutiny before being published.


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