Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

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21 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

Statement by the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales on the response to coronavirus

On 20 May 2020 Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales made an oral statement in which he states:

“Work is advancing well and we are finalising the details on the next phase of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF).  I expect to re-open the ERF eligibility checker for new applications by the middle of June, allowing companies time to prepare their applications.  Following that, I expect to open for full applications later in the month. 

In terms of eligibility, Phase 2 of the Fund will operate in the same way as Phase 1 but with an update to the micro scheme.  This will enable limited companies who are not VAT registered to access the Fund, something which so many small businesses have been calling for. 

In Wales, our priority has not changed - public health and controlling the pandemic remain our number one priorities. That is why, on 14 May I issued an important reminder to anyone considering travelling to Wales - “Please stay at home”.   Visitors will be welcome with open arms to Wales once we are through this crisis, but for now we must tackle the virus by staying home.” Read the full Oral Statement.

Impact on Industry – Latest tracker survey findings

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.  The report includes findings on revenue and staffing impacts to businesses, access to government support and expectations for survival during lockdown and recovery.  Regional breakdowns are given, where possible.   A summary was published last week - the full report is now available to view here.

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

Fines increased for repeat coronavirus lockdown breaches in Wales

The increased fines are being introduced ahead of the bank holiday weekend and they follow a request from the four police forces in Wales and the Police and Crime Commissioners for increased penalties to help deter people from repeatedly breaching the stay-at-home regulations.

Evidence from the four police forces show a small minority of people are breaking the coronavirus regulations, particularly by traveling to well-known beauty spots throughout Wales, even though they have been closed since the end of March. Read more on fines increased for repeat coronavirus lockdown breaches in Wales.

Business Support:

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. Read more about the Coronavirus Future Fund.


Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million

Businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the UK Government Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.

The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from 26 May 2020. Read more about Larger businesses to benefit from loans.

Marketing Update:

With a Bank Holiday approaching and 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”.  Thank you to all our destination and industry colleagues for the way that many have adopted the same message and provided consistency to a lot of current social media posting.

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.

Superfast Business Wales free online courses and practical how-to guides

Superfast Business Wales is offering a range of free webinars to help businesses affected by COVID-19. This includes a number of 20-minute practical TASTER sessions and a range of more in-depth courses.

There are also various practical guides to help you transition to working from home, promote your business and compete online.

Find out more about the free online courses and take a look at the practical guides available on the Superfast Business Wales information hub.

UKinbound – temporary free membership

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.  UKinbound has launched a new, free of charge, temporary membership option due to Covid 19.  They wish to provide support to the wider inbound tourism industry who can benefit from some of membership services usually reserved for full UKinbound members.  Some of the benefits include access to their webinars, their daily COVID-19 and other regular industry updates, and ability to take part in their lobbying activities.

This temporary Associate membership option will therefore be time-limited to the end of their current membership year which is 30 September 2020.

To become a temporary Associate member please apply by visiting

The Business Events Growth Programme 2020/21 open for applications

Applications are open for the Business Events Growth Programme 2020/21 and are welcome from various types of organisations, including but not limited to event organisers, convention bureaus/destination management organisations, universities or associations. Further information, including types of event support, current criteria and how to apply for financial support, is available online.

Supporting your employees during coronavirus: Domestic Abuse

The order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse.

As an employer, you can play an important role in reassuring staff that they can still leave their home if they are experiencing domestic abuse and that there is still support available, including online support, helplines, refuges and the police.

'Live Fear Free' can provide help and advice to:

  • anyone experiencing domestic abuse
  • anyone who knows someone who needs help, for example, a friend, family member or colleague
  • practitioners seeking professional advice

Find out more about supporting employees.

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:

  • 15 May: Unlocking our society and economy: Wales’ roadmap published
  • 15 May: Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update
  • 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

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