Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

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1 May 2020

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Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

The situation is developing quickly. Please follow the news reports and for latest advice regularly visit the Public Health Wales website and the Business Wales website

Business Support:

More than £500m of support reaches Welsh businesses

Half a billion pounds of relief grants has reached more than 41,000 small businesses in Wales in the space of just a few weeks.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates and Finance Minister Rebecca Evans have thanked local authorities throughout Wales for their hard work to swiftly process grant payments, ensuring small businesses receive speedy help to deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This impressive effort has seen £508 million move from government to businesses in the last month. Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 have received a grant of £25,000.And a £10,000 grant has been paid to firms, which are eligible for small business rates relief and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

All eligible businesses will also benefit from a year-long rates holiday.

Work to process outstanding applications is continuing and more companies are receiving emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) grants daily. The £1.7 billion package of support from Welsh Government, which includes the Economic Resilience Fund, goes over and above what is available to businesses in England.  Read more here. 

COVID-19: Bounce Back Loans

Small businesses will benefit from a new UK fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Details as follows:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May 2020. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Read more here

Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund will provide UK government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

The scheme will launch in May 2020. Read more here.

Business Insurance Guidance on COVID-19

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) members are working to support their customers by providing clear and quick answers to their questions. Read more on the Business Wales site.

ABI has provided the following guidance on the common questions relating to insurance and other business issues.

Further information including advice, guidance, and common questions relating to insurance can be found on the ABI Coronavirus Information Hub on the ABI website.  

See also ABI’s guidance on Business Insurance cover.  

Please visit the Business Wales COVID-19 Support for Business page for information for your business on dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19: Business Wales support for businesses podcast

Business Wales are here to support you and your business through the COVID-19 outbreak.   

Why not subscribe and listen to the Business Wales podcast for updates and information for businesses in Wales.

Previous podcasts have included:

  • talks with the Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales, Giles Thorley, and the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates
  • a chat with two of the businesses that have received funding from the Development Bank of Wales, Jonathan Greatorex, Managing Director at The Hand at Llanarmon and Phil Scott, Owner Director of Ribride Velocity on Anglesey who speak about how simple the process was

Please visit Business Wales Podcasts to find out more.

Online support available to Welsh businesses affected by COVID-19

Business Wales has launched a new series of digital courses and webinars, aimed at Welsh SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ‘COVID-19 and Your Business’ series covers key topics including:

  • alternative business models and diversification
  • cashflow and finance
  • HR policies and procedures
  • managing teams and workload remotely
  • encouraging productivity
  • negotiating with suppliers and customers

The webinars take place daily.  Find out more here and keep an eye on the Business Wales Event Finder pages.

Marketing Update

We continue to maintain a low level presence on social media, concentrating on public health information and the simple message of “Visit Wales. Later”.  We are retweeting and sharing selected posts across platforms, from destinations, Public Health, Police and others to support the overall message. We’ve also put together industry advice and guidance to help you with communications with your own customers at this time. The guidance is based on Visit Wales’ approach at this time and includes suggestions on the types of content you may wish to share with your own customers during lockdown particularly on social media.  We hope that you find it useful: Visit Wales - Tourism Industry Advice on Communications with your Customers.

With regard to marketing activity, although all core campaign work was paused in March, the position is reviewed daily and subject to public sentiment and the situation at that time, we aim to gradually introduce additional, suitable content on our social channels including that which supports many of our destinations and stakeholders.  We’re also really grateful for all the discussions at recent regional forums and the day to day contact we have with many stakeholders; all of which are invaluable as we plan, ensuring that we are in the best position possible to support the industry in the short and mid-term. Please check in with our industry communications regularly to make sure that you’re up to date with the approach and timing of activity as it develops.

Update from DWP on support for employees and employer

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on many parts of the labour market, with some sectors reducing in size and others expanding rapidly. To help jobseekers find work in new areas and employers tap into new labour markets, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have launched new jobhelp and employerhelp websites. These offer labour market information for people looking for work now, and advice for employers to help.

Provision of Critical Equipment and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

The Welsh Government is working closely with business and industry to get supplies of critical equipment including cleaning products and PPE to front line workers facing shortages during the COVID 19 outbreak. 

If you are an existing supplier of PPE or critical equipment or are able to provide any additional support on either manufacturing, repurposing products or innovation, please contact the Life Science Hub through their innovation portal.  

For any other offers of support: 

If you are able to offer any other support, which is not directly related to Medical Equipment or PPE, our Regional teams would like to hear from you. We will capture all offers at a regional and local level.  To register offers of this kind please complete the online form here

Stay up to date with tourism industry news

We are committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs during these unprecedented difficult times and have issued several Coronavirus (COVID-19) related bulletins which can be found here. These include:

  • 27 April: First Economic Resilience Fund grants to be paid to businesses and being paused at midday TODAY
  • 24 April: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 20 April: Economic Resilience Fund - additional £100m; Business disruption insurance - call for evidence; Job Retention Scheme is open
  • 17 April: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 17 April: Economic Resilience Fund applications process opens
  • 10 April: Find out if your business is eligible for support from the new Economic Resilience Fund
  • 09 April: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 08 April: Urgent Notice to Holiday Accommodation Businesses (Amendment) / Request for Holiday Accommodation Businesses to provide accommodation for vulnerable groups
  • 02 April: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 30 March: New £500m Economic Resilience Fund launched for Wales
  • 27 March: Urgent Notice to Holiday Accommodation Businesses
  • 27 March: Self-employment Income Support Scheme; Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • 26 March: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 25 March: Urgent Notice: COVID-19 – Guidance for Holiday Park owners and operators
  • 24 March: Coronavirus Guidance on Further Businesses and Premises to Close
  • 23 March: Tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus introduced today
  • 19 March: Ministers announce new £1.4bn business support package
  • 12 March: Coronavirus industry information

Make sure you stay up to date with tourism industry news by following us on twitter on @VisitWalesBiz and also encourage others who may benefit, to stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter here.