TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 16/03
Yesterday the Working Safely with Coronavirus guidance for hotels and historic location was updated to take into account Stage 1 relaxations. Both sets of guidance stated:
Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.
However, this morning the UK Weddings Taskforce came out with a statement saying that they have been told that from 12th April to 17th May, weddings can only be held in “places of worship, public buildings, locations and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open”
- Northern Ireland Business Support Grants
New business support grants of £178m have been announced in Northern Ireland. The two grants that have the most significance for tourism businesses are:
- 50k for businesses with an NAV over 51k that are eligible for the 12 months rates holiday (retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism, manufacturing, childcare, newspaper producers). Examples of the kinds of business that this will benefit are shops, car showrooms, garden centres, gyms and fitness suites, equestrian centres, and caravan parks
- 10k for businesses that received the £25k Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and have not been paid LRSS or CRBSS Part B.
- Artist Mobility Webinar
Arts Infopoint UK (a partnership between Wales Arts International/Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and Arts Council Northern Ireland) is holding a free webinar at 2pm – 3:30pm on Monday 22 March 2021 to provide businesses with a general overview of what has changed since the UK’s exit of the EU and how professionals can prepare for cross border work in the near future. The session will be chaired by Marie Fol, President of the board of On the Move, in conversation with Anita Debaere, Director of PEARLE* – Live Performance Europe and Anaïs Lukacs from MobiCulture.
This webinar will be of interest to destinations and venues that stage events with performers or cultural exhibits from Europe.
Register via Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-an-introduction-to-artist-mobility-to-the-eu-tickets-146353801159
- Travel Demand Management Toolkit
DfT has produced a toolkit for local transport authorities to help them develop travel demand management programmes that will:
- support LTAs in managing the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the transport system
- manage a range of other scenarios where there are increased pressures on the transport network or a mismatch between supply and demand
TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 17/03
- Digital Green Passport
Further to the emails I’ve been sending round regarding certification, the European Commission has launched a proposal for a Regulation on the Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. It will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format and will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the certificate. The Commission will build a gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU, and support Member States in the technical implementation of certificates.
European tourism associations have welcomed the initiative and asked for more action to coordinate travel restrictions; create an EU framework for travel-related testing activities and launch a coordinated approach for reopening the tourism businesses.
It is therefore important that any UK certification programme either links with the EU’s Digital Green Passport, or that there is mutual recognition of EU and UK schemes, in order for tourism flows to be as smooth a possible.
- Unanswered Questions
I’m very conscious that there are a large number of unanswered questions on issues such as:
- Shared facilities
- Day Visitors
There is a Tourism Industry Council meeting tomorrow so I will raise the issue of how guidance on these issues is urgently needed if businesses are to be able to plan to open from 12th April. If there are other key issues that guidance is needed on for the 12th April, please let me know and I will include this as well.
TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 18/03
- Show Rounds
One clarification from DCMS that has come through today is that, from March 29, visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home (Covid Secure Safety guidelines must be adhered to while doing this). Viewings where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise, should not be taking place in closed venues at this time.
In practice that means venue viewings for leisure activities is being treated differently to venue viewings for business activities as the former is restricted while the latter is permitted under the current guidelines. So this means that a show round for a conference or meeting is allowed but a show round for a leisure trip or a wedding is still not allowed.
- Clarification on Restart Grants
The email that I send round earlier on the restart grants should have read:
The rates that apply for the hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses are:
- £8,000 for businesses with a rateable value of up to and exactly £15,000
- £12,000 for businesses with a rateable vale over £15,000 and less that £51,000
- £18,000 for businesses with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or greater
There is a full list of the types of business that are eligible for the grants in Annex C of the guidance but the general definitions are:
- a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink
- a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events, days and nights out, betting and gaming
- a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel and other purposes.
Gym & Sport
- a commercial establishment where physical exercise or training is conducted on an individual basis or group basis, using exercise equipment or open floor space with or without instruction, or where individual and group sporting, athletic and physical activities are participated in competitively or recreationally.
Of particular disappointment is that there is a specific paragraph that states that the definition of a leisure business excludes coach tour operators and tour operators.
- DFT Travel Tracker
DFT has published the third wave of their Travel Tracker – which cover November so it’s somewhat ancient history now. However, it does show that people are very hesitant about using public transport. During the November lockdown, 65% of people drove a car, but only 13% of people took a train and 24% of people took a bus.
- DCMS Provision GVA Analysis – 2019 and 2020
DCMS has published data on the monthly GVA of sectors under it’s responsibility. The data shows that tourism’s GVA in 2020 decreased from £70.3bn to £48.7bn – a decrease of 31%.
It is worth noting that I have an ongoing conversation with ONS about the Tourism Satellite Account figures which are used to calculate tourism GVA and employment. ONS have accepted that there are severe problems with how tourism GVA and employment is calculated which means that these figures significantly under-estimate the contribution of tourism to the UK economy. My estimation is that the GVA figure is about £15bn lower than it should be. Nevertheless, these figures are good at highlighting the relative decrease in GVA during 2020.
- £500 Payment Update
This one is for employees – the Government has updated the guidance associated with the one-off £500 payment that is being made to households that receive tax credits. The update is to clarify that the payment is non-taxable and will not affect benefits. It does not need to be declared as income for Income Tax Self Assessment or for tax credit claims and renewals.
- Environment Agency Update
The Environment Agency has updated it’s guidance on what water-based activities (including water sports and boating) are allowed at different stages of the Roadmap
- Northern Ireland Relaxations
The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to gradual changes which will come into effect before the next formal review date on or before 15 April.
From 1 April, the regulations will change to:
- Permit ten people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities as defined in the regulations. This allows sports such as golf and tennis to resume from this date in small groups of individuals from two households, however club houses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilet facilities.
- Up to six people (including children) from two households may meet outdoors in a garden
- Garden centres and plant nurseries can operate a contactless click and collect service.
From 12 April, it the Executive hopes to:
- Increase the numbers who can meet outdoors in a garden from six to ten (including children) from two households;
- Allow contactless click and collect service for all non-essential retail;
- Allow for sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to fifteen people but with all indoor spaces closed except for essential toilet facilities
- Remove of the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation; promotion of the stay local and work from home messages.
TOURISM SOCIETY PANEL DISCUSSION
TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 19/03
- Events Research Programme ToR
The terms of reference for the Events Research Programme have been published. This is one of the four reviews announced alongside the Roadmap and is being undertaken to support the opening of large scale events. The objective of the research programme is to oversee a range of pilot events in Spring/Summer which will build evidence on the risks associated with Covid-19 transmission routes, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks. The evidence from these pilot events will be used to inform the government’s decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.
- Destination Management Organisations Consultation Launched
The DMO consultation has been launched. The main questions in the consultation are:
- What do you feel works well overall about the current ways in which DMOs are structured and operate in England?
- what do you think could work differently or could be improved about how DMOs are structured and operate in England?
- Why should there be DMOs?
- What should DMOs do to be at their best?
- Who and/or what do you think benefits from the work DMOs carry out?
- What examples do you have of DMOs demonstrating their value and/or Returns on Investment to stakeholders?
- What views do you have about the ways in which DMOs are funded currently, and how this could change?
- What views do you have about the ways in which individual DMOs are structured currently, and how this could change?
- What do you think works well about how DMOs work with:
- a) other DMOs;
b) local/regional tourism businesses; and
c) other relevant sectors currently, and what could work better?
- What do you think works well about how DMOs work with other local structures (e.g. local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, mayoral combined authorities, universities, etc), and what could work better?
- What do you think works well about how DMOs currently work with the British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain/VisitEngland), and how could this work better?
- What do you think works well about how DMOs currently work to support business visits and events, and how could this work better?
- How do you think DMOs can best support government priorities, both locally and nationally?
- What lessons do you think can be learned from other historical and/or international models for structuring and/or funding DMOs?
- How can DMOs best support the recovery and rebuilding of the tourism sector over the next year both in terms of leisure and business tourism, following the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What risks do you see for the potential for DMOs to support the recovery and rebuilding of the tourism sector, again both in terms of leisure and business tourism, over the next year?
- What do you see as the biggest opportunities for DMOs over the next ten years?
- And what do you see as the biggest challenges for DMOs over the next ten years?
- What one thing do you think could be done to ensure the financial and organisational sustainability of DMOs over the next ten years?
The consultation will close on Wednesday 28th April and submissions can be make through the Online Survey on the following link
This is a very important consultation for the future of sub-national tourism support and development, so I’m in the process of organising a seminar on this for Tourism Alliance members in the week of 19th April and will send round more details on this next week.
- Business Adaptation to Coronavirus
ONS has produced data on how businesses have adapted to lockdowns during the pandemic by finding ways to continue trading in some form. The data show that the number of businesses that have closed completely during the current lockdown is considerably lower than during the first lockdown last year. For example
- 54% of food service and accommodation businesses are currently closed compared to 81% in the first lockdown
- 56% of arts. entertainment and recreation businesses are currently closed compared to 82% in the first lockdown
While this can be seen as businesses becoming more innovative, it could also be seen as a sign that businesses are increasingly desperate for any revenue. It is also worth noting that:
- overall, only 12% of all businesses are closed
- The percentage of people working in their normal workplaces is increasing – from 37% in the first lockdown to 44% now – which is a trend that will help support hospitality and tourism businesses in city centres when they reopen.
- Lateral Flow Test Sites
The Government has launched an online postcode checker so you can see if new rapid lateral flow testing is available in your area. These tests are free and results are available in 30 minutes so they are an important component in a covid management regime.
- Guidance for Temporary Residents
The Home Office guidance for those people in the UK in temporary visas that intend to leave the country but have not been able to do so has been updated again to say that if they have a visa that expires before 30 April 2021, they can request additional time to stay (exceptional assurance) by emailing email@example.com
- R Number and Growth Rate
And because it’s the end of the week, we have the latest R number and Growth Rate – which are respectively 0.6 to 0.9 and -6% to -3%. This is a slight increase from last week’s figures of 0.6 to 0.8 and -7% to -4%
TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 22/03
- ARG Guidance Amended
Some good news to start the week. We’ve managed to get the ARG guidance changed to encourage councils to provide grants to a range of tourism businesses that had previously fallen through the cracks. Para 27 of the guidance now reads:
Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs.
- Further Guidance on Stage 2 Wedding Venues
The Government has issued further guidance on holding weddings during Stage 2. The new guidance states that, from 12th April, wedding ceremonies can take place in venues which are permitted to open for the purposes of providing unrestricted services. This includes:
- Conference centres and exhibition halls
- Holiday accommodation, including hotels (in a room approved for the solemnisation of marriage and formation of a civil partnership)
- Any purpose built wedding venue (where that is its sole purpose, and it is not also a hospitality venue or visitor attraction)
- Visitor attractions may be used (if licensed) if the part of the venue used to hold the ceremony is used solely for that purpose and is not ordinarily open to the public (for example a building used for wedding ceremonies within the grounds of a botanical garden).
- Rooms or spaces within indoor visitor attractions (for example a room within a museum) if they can be accessed directly from the street, or open outdoor areas of the venue.
- Wales Tourism Recovery Plan – Let’s Shape the Future
The Welsh Government has published a Tourism recovery Plan for the tourism industry in Wales. Developed in consultation with the Tourism Taskforce, the plan includes a shared partnership framework of essential themes around which interventions will be built to support businesses through short to medium-term recovery. The 8 essential themes include:
- Supporting business.
- Valuing people.
- Reopening safely.
- Rebuilding consumer confidence.
- Stimulating and managing demand.
- Developing local visitor economies.
- Transforming the sector to be more resilient.
- Developing tailored recovery plans.
It should be noted that this is very much an outline recovery plan and much more meat will need to be added to this framework plan.
- Lockdown Guidance Updated
The Lockdown Guidance has been updated to include a summary of the changes that will occur next Monday (29th March) as part of Stage 1b. The main changes are:
- People will be able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
- People will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
- Childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
- Formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be not counted in this number
- Hotel Quarantine Guidance Updated
The guidance for people staying in a quarantine hotel has been updated with the following information
- Permission can be requested to leave quarantine for a limited period if a close family member or household member is dying.
- Permission can be requested to leave quarantine to attend a funeral. This is limited to the day of the funeral or, in exceptional circumstances, an overnight stay where it is not possible to travel to the funeral and back within one day
- If an unaccompanied minor child is arriving, a parent, guardian or appropriate adult is expected to join their child in managed quarantine on arrival.
There has also been an amendment to the guidance to clarify the length of stay of people who test positive while in a quarantine Hotel
- If you receive a positive test result on day 2, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken.
- If you are test positive on day 2 and are in quarantine with people you have travelled with, they will also need to quarantine for 10 further days.
- If you receive a positive result for your day 2 test, you will not be required to take any further tests but people you are staying with will need to take a day 8 test.
- If you receive a positive test result on day 8 you will be required to quarantine for 10 further days.
- Test and Trace Support Payment
The test and trace Support Payment is the £500 payment that people can get if they’ve been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020. The guidance on this payment has been updated to reflect that you can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period, and that the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has been extended to parents and guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating.