Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

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26 February 2021


Coronavirus: Tourism Industry Update

Please follow the news reports and for latest advice regularly visit the Public Health Wales website and the Business Wales website

BULLETIN CONTENTS - Gŵyl Dewi 2021 St David's Day - Showcasing Wales to the world; Wales Week London 2021; Approved Licensed Premises - Use of wedding venues –clarification; UK businesses registered ‘We’re Good To Go’ get global ‘Safe Travels’ stamp; Queries regarding accepting bookings for the Easter period in self-contained holiday accommodation; Coronavirus control plan: alert levels in Wales (coming out of lockdown); ONS travel and tourism statistics review; Earlier Covid vaccine target dates and new prioritisations confirmed for Wales; COVID-19 Tourism Taskforce;  COVID-19 workplace testing framework; Welsh Government sets out mission for more prosperous, equal and greener economy; How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus.

Gŵyl Dewi 2021 St David's Day - Showcasing Wales to the world

As part of our Gŵyl Dewi 2021 Wales celebrates digital festival over the St David’s Day weekend, we’ll be showcasing Wales to the world across social media with stories of the people, culture, businesses and communities.

Be sure to join in our 72-hour consumer facing social media celebration of all things Welsh from today; take a look at the Event Schedule, follow and share content from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, join the Facebook event and use hashtags #GwylDewi #StDavidsDay.

Wales Week London 2021

The annual Wales Week London event will take place over the period of St David’s Day week in London.  Due to Coronavirus restrictions, there will be more of a virtual focus to this year’s activities being held until 7 March 2021. Further details can be found on the Wales Week in London website.

Approved Licensed Premises - Use of wedding venues – clarification

From March 1st 2021 venues that are “approved premises” for hosting a marriage or civil partnership ceremony may be open, but only for that purpose (or for an alternative marriage ceremony such as a humanist wedding). Those attending the ceremony also have a reasonable excuse to leave home for that purpose.

Couples who have a wedding or civil partnership ceremony already arranged may also visit the venue in advance, if necessary, to plan the ceremony.

However, at this stage this does not mean that venues may open on a speculative basis by allowing “show-arounds” for those who may wish to have a ceremony at the venue.

This is likely to be relaxed once Alert Level 3 restrictions apply in Wales (or in any specific area of Wales as applicable).  Further information will be provided as part of the Welsh Government’s regular 21 day reviews (the next planned for 11th March 2021).

UK businesses registered ‘We’re Good To Go’ get global ‘Safe Travels’ stamp

VisitBritain has announced that tourism businesses in the UK registered to the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard scheme can now be automatically issued with the international ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The “We’re Good To Go” scheme, launched last year by VisitEngland in partnership with the tourism boards of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, has been recognised by  WTTC as meeting its international global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector.

The WTTC stamp enables travellers to recognise destinations around the world which have adopted global standardised protocols - so they can experience ‘Safe Travels.’

VisitBritain is coordinating the Safe Travels stamp issue in the UK, on behalf of the WTTC, for businesses registered to its We’re Good To Go scheme, with those who welcome international visitors particularly encouraged to apply. View in more detail on the VisitBritain website.

If you are not already registered, you can apply to the “We’re Good to Go” scheme now, as part of your preparations to re-open your business as soon as the time is right.

Queries regarding accepting bookings for the Easter period in self-contained holiday accommodation

As indicated in the last newsletter, following the latest review of coronavirus restrictions, the Welsh Government has also announced some minor changes to the current rules. Read the press notice for further information.

Welsh Government will now work with the sector on the possibility of reopening self-contained accommodation in Wales as part of the next Review.

The final decision will depend on the public health position at that time and therefore we cannot give any guarantees that self-contained accommodation will be allowed to open and what travel and household rules will apply. We therefore need to remind accommodation providers that any bookings that fall beyond the current 21 day review period (which ends on 12 March) are at that business and the customer’s own risk.  No bookings can be taken for the period up to 12 March.

With regard to booking enquiries from England, England’s COVID-19 Response update  (published by UK Government on 22 February) states that;

  • From 29 March, people will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home. Many of the lockdown restrictions, however, will remain in place. Unless an exemption already applies, it will not be possible to meet people from other households indoors and many business premises will remain shut. Guidance will set out that people should continue to work from home where they can. People should continue to minimise travel wherever possible, and should not be staying away from home overnight at this stage.
  • From 12 April (earliest), overnight stays away from home in this country [England] will be permitted and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.

Alongside the position in Wales, it is important to consider the restrictions that apply in their respective countries, when fielding booking enquiries from prospective guests.

Coronavirus control plan: alert levels in Wales (coming out of lockdown)

The Welsh Government’s traffic-light Coronavirus Control Plan has been revised to take account of the emerging new variant strains of the virus and the impact of the vaccine programme. In the updated document, what has changed since December and what that means for decision making, is explained. The Control Plan describes the measures to control coronavirus at four Alert Levels.  Wales is currently at Alert Level 4.

ONS travel and tourism statistics review

The Office for National Statistics are undertaking a full review of their travel and tourism statistics, with the aim of improving the picture painted by this data.  

To engage and consult with a wide range of users, ONS are developing a forum, through which they will feed back on progress of the review and will give users the opportunity to ask questions and leave comments.  If you directly, or indirectly, use travel and tourism statistics and would like to join the forum please express your interest here.  

Earlier Covid vaccine target dates and new prioritisations confirmed for Wales

An updated vaccine strategy for Wales has been published, confirming earlier key target dates and the adoption of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice on prioritisation for the next phase of vaccinations.

The updated targets are to offer the vaccine to all current priority groups by the middle of April and to the wider adult population by the end of July.

The updated strategy also confirms Wales, in line with the other UK nations, will follow the interim advice of the JCVI on prioritisation for the wider adult population.  Read the announcement in full on Gov.Wales.

COVID-19 Tourism Taskforce

The COVID-19 Tourism Taskforce is a representative body from the tourism sector which works with Visit Wales to highlight the specific needs of the tourism sector to Ministers, including the First Minister.  Following its creation a year ago, the work over has encompassed many strands including common themes such as gaps in the funding packages and ideas for alleviating the problems.  Agreed meeting notes from the Tourism COVID-19 Group meetings can be viewed online.

COVID-19 workplace testing framework

Welsh Government has issued guidance on how it will offer COVID-19 testing to private and public sector workplaces.

Welsh Government support for regular asymptomatic testing in private and public sector workplaces in Wales will focus on workplaces:

  • with higher exposure to risk
  • which involve close proximity to others
  • with > 50  employees that cannot work from home
  • that deliver and maintain key services for the public

Further information is available on Gov.Wales.

Welsh Government sets out mission for more prosperous, equal and greener economy

As Wales continues to navigate the many challenges of coronavirus, Welsh Government has set out how it will work to reconstruct and rebuild Wales’ economy so it is more prosperous, equal and green than ever before.

This includes making available an additional £270 million to support business through the Development Bank of Wales. Operating alongside other Development Bank support, this represents a major investment in accessible finance for business and will help Welsh firms focus on their long term success.

Welsh Government has published its Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission which sets out how it will work to rebuild Wales’ post COVID-19 economy so that it values and prioritises wellbeing, drives prosperity, is environmentally sound, and helps every person in Wales to realise their potential.

Read the announcement in full on Gov.Wales.

How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus

Find out on the Business Wales website about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC.

Useful COVID-19 information

As each premises is different, businesses should read all guidance. This continues to be updated so please check back regularly for the latest information.

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. 

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.