UK #Photography Tour Sector Bounces Back After Lockdown

World Photography Day is just around the corner, commemorated on the 19th of August to celebrate the art, craft, and science of photography worldwide. But is there much cause for celebration? The last 12 months have been turmoil for all kinds of businesses, but photographers have been especially hard hit, and the photography holiday, course and workshop sector has faced immense challenges.

With many self-employed and freelance staff in the industry unable to access government support, and photography groups excluded from the flexibility afforded to other outdoor pursuits like golf and shooting, you’d expect a gloomy picture from the sector.

But that is not universally the case. Many of the UK’s photography course businesses have come out fighting, pivoting their business models and diversifying their workshop offering to stay afloat in these difficult times. Leading camera insurer photoGuard talked to six of the UK’s leading photography tour and workshop firms to get a snapshot of the sector and discover their stories.

“Last year should have been our biggest year ever, with eight sold-out tours” explained That Wild Idea’s Kav Dadfar. After four years of hard work, the company exhibited at The Destination Show at London Olympia in January 2020, a big investment but one that was paying off in raising the profile of the young company and picking up bookings. “It really should have been a boom year,” added Dadfar. “Literally a few weeks later, we were in lockdown, and we had to cancel all the tours and refund everything.”

But other businesses we interviewed tell a different story. Richard Baines, Director of Yorkshire Coast Nature, a wildlife experience and photography workshop company, told us “We have all these clients who have been waiting a year to have their trips, plus we’ve had a big increase in bookings because everyone is confined to the UK, so everything is sold out.”

Alex Bennett, Head of Marketing at photoGuard, said “We know how difficult the last 12 months have been for our colleagues in the sector, and it is really heartening to hear some of these remarkable success stories amid the lockdowns. These are the small businesses that spark a lifelong passion for photography, and we are grateful for their continued resilience and tenacity.”