Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

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15 May 2020


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

First Minister of Wales' message to the people of Wales

On Sunday the Prime Minister set out the minor changes which are proposed to the lockdown rules in England over the next 3 weeks.

Here in Wales, the regulations are changing so people can exercise more often and allow garden centres to open, if they can comply with social distancing.

Read more on the First Minister’s message to the people of Wales and on the Coronavirus regulations: guidance. Welsh Government will keep the regulations under review and keep the FAQ sections of the website updated to respond to questions from the public.

The summary explaining going out to exercise in Wales during the Coronavirus lockdown can be found on the Welsh Government Leaving home to exercise: guidance web page.

Marketing Update:

With the recent changes to restrictions in England, we’re maintaining a clear message on Visit Wales social media i.e. concentrating on public health information and the simple message of “Visit Wales. Later”. 

Please don’t forget, in case you may find it of use, that we’ve 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 and includes suggestions on the types of content you may wish to share with your own customers particularly on social media.  Visit Wales - Tourism Industry Advice on Communications with your Customers.

We aim to introduce additional, suitable content on our social channels imminently, subject to the situation and in line with public sentiment. That will include content which complements and supports our destinations and industry partners.  The continuing contact that we have day to day with many stakeholders remains invaluable as we plan, ensuring that we are in the best position possible to support the sector in the short and mid-term by reflecting the views of industry alongside those of destinations and communities.

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Why travelling to Wales is not an option – important reminder

The stay-at-home coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations remain firmly in place in Wales to protect people’s health. This means travelling to Wales for leisure purposes is still not possible.

Campsites, outdoor activities and tourist attractions, together with many popular footpaths and beauty spots, such as Snowdon, remain closed to the public to keep people safe and protect the NHS.

Changes made to the law in England, allowing people to go out for open-air recreation do not apply in Wales.

In Wales, the stay-at-home rules have been relaxed to remove the once-a-day restriction on exercise. All exercise must be done locally.

The Welsh Government’s Economy and north Wales Minister Ken Skates has issued this important reminder to anyone considering travelling to Wales. 

The First Minister has also issued a letter to the English border media this week, urging visitors not to travel to Wales for now but that we’d look forward to welcoming everyone back to Wales when the pandemic is over.

Business Support:

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme now open

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus are able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits.

People are able to make their claim on a specified date between 13 to18 May 2020, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. This can be checked on HMRC’s online checker and those eligible will receive government grant worth up to £7,500.

Visit the Business Wales website for more details.

Impact on Industry – Tracker Surveys

In order to provide impact data and to help support the industry through these challenging times we ran a third wave of our telephone survey extended to 800 tourism businesses in Wales in late April. View a summary of the Tourism Barometer findings.

Many thanks for your support in engaging with us by participating in this research.

Regional Tourism Forums

The four Regional Tourism Forums successfully trialled their first virual meetings in April.  The next round of Regional Tourism Forums will take place as follows:

  • North – 20 May
  • South West – 21 May
  • Mid – 27 May
  • South East – 28 May

If you’d like to submit any questions to your regional forum, please contact your local Regional Engagement Manager. 

Webinars for the tourism industry

We’ll shortly be letting you know about opportunities to join some Visit Wales hosted webinars. With a huge range of webinars currently available from so many sources - including those with specific business advice from our colleagues in Business Wales - ours are being tailored to add value over and above those already available to Wales’ tourism industry and stakeholders.

In the interim here is a listing of webinars/online events that are available from Business Wales.


Recent and forthcoming tourism webinars

World Travel Market, as the leading global event for the travel industry and to supplement the annual exhibition they are hosting a series of webinars.  You can watch The Independent’s Senior Travel Editor Simon Calder present his views and opinions on the future of travel in the light of Covid-19 using his insight and knowledge. During this interview, led by Lisa Francesca Nand, he sheds light on the current situation facing all those in the industry including airlines, hotels, cruise operators and travel agents. 

ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) has arranged a series of webinars ranging from informal drop-ins, fact-finding, expert advice, plans for destination recovery and origin market insights to help the travel industry in Europe.  Highlights include Crisis and recovery – the USA FIT market (fully independent travel) and COVID-19 Immediate Crisis Concerns – USA Market Drop-In (mainly from a group travel perspective).  Other webinars in European languages are also available. 

UKinbound webinars

UKinbound is the only trade association that represents the interests of the UK’s inbound tourism sector and they ensure it is recognised as a leading economic and employment driver in the UK.  During the COVID-19 outbreak they are running a series of webinars for their members. 

Find out more information about UKinbound at

Please note that as all webinars are pre-recorded you will be unable to ask questions.

HMRC Business Webinars and updated guidance

HMRC are continuing to run webinars on the following topics:

In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers has been updated.

For further information please visit the GOV.UK website.

Welsh Government updated coronavirus guidance for employers

The Welsh Government has updated their Guidance under regulation 7A of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 for employers.

The ‘Taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace’ guidance includes:

 For further information please visit the GOV.Wales website.

Social distancing and keeping business open by working safely

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced guidelines on how businesses must maintain social distancing and protect their staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The guidance explains what employers must do in order to keep their businesses open and it covers:

  • social distancing
  • essential and non-essential work
  • safe in-work activity

For further information please visit the HSE website.

Reminder: Further guidance on whether you can accept bookings before 26 September 2020

To help clarify whether tourism businesses can take bookings before 26 September 2020, we have published some Frequently Asked Questions

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 on the Tourism Industry Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bulletins page. The most recent bulletins are below:

  • 13 May: Coronavirus regulations, Job Retention Scheme, Economic Resilience Fund, Business Wales Podcast:Tourism
  • 06 May: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 01 May: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 27 April: First Economic Resilience Fund grants to be paid to businesses and being paused at midday TODAY
  • 24 April: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

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

Business Wales is providing businesses with tailored support and advice about dealing with coronavirus, from financial and supply chain planning to advice on staffing issues. We would advise Tourism businesses and stakeholders in Wales wanting specific guidance to visit the Business Wales website or call Business Wales helpline on 03000 6 03000, and to regularly visit the Public Health Wales website for up-to-date public health information for you, your staff and your visitors