The hope for Wales' tourism industry when lockdown ends and staycations boom

Publish Time:2020-06-09 09:47:18Source:Wales Online

【Introduction】:Anyone who s holidayed at home in Wales knows that weather can mean everything to homegrown tourism and, if not for lockdown, it would have had a bumper start to the 2020 holiday season.

A sunny Easter, glorious May and now, by all accounts, June looks to be positively... middling to cool.

Anyone who's holidayed at home in Wales knows that weather can mean everything to homegrown tourism and, if not for lockdown, it would have had a bumper start to the 2020 holiday season.

But it is what it is and as Wales extended its lockdown message for staying local for the rest of this month, encouragingly, we've seen empty beaches, closed car parks and closed attractions.

Hotels, B&Bs, campsites, pubs and activity destinations have been dormant in terms of customers and holidaymakers, but what of the time when we can ease lockdown and the country slowly starts to emerge from the post-Covid-19 gloom?

It's hoped that the desire for staycations will multiply, not least because we can't go abroad in the near future, unless we want to spend seven days of a holiday to Greece in quarantine.

And the tourism world is starting to get restless, with a signed letter from Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions to the Welsh Government pleading for a "road map" to reopening as the season gallops along at what seems like an alarming pace.

The letter - signed by more than 40 leisure industry bosses from a range of high profile tourist destinations including Snowdon Mountain Railway, Zip World and the National Botanic Garden of Wales - warns of “writing off 2020 for Welsh tourism” without a clear roadmap to reopening, such as those published in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

England's Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said last month that they had a "very ambitious plan" to get English tourism up and running by the beginning of July.

We've spoken to some of the key services in the Welsh tourism industry - including attraction Zip World, B&B and campsite owners, hotels and pubs - for their take on getting Wales reopen, how they are preparing for social distancing and how promising the staycation situation is actually looking.

What do Visit Wales have to say?

The message from Visit Wales, which promotes our country as a tourist destination, has been come back later when the pandemic is over as the official advice is to avoid unnecessary travel.

This has applied to visitors from outside Wales and Welsh citizens are now advised to travel around five miles to exercise within their locality.

A spokesman for the body said that tourism in post-pandemic Wales would look very different and was cautious about predicting a staycation 'boom' for the industry in the coming months.

“Tourism in a post-pandemic Wales will be very different – it can’t be business as usual," he said. "Whilst the need to get back up and running to generate income and safeguard local jobs is vital, we will not put people at risk.

"A gradual and cautious approach will be taken when it is safe to begin to open up tourism attractions and rural Wales again. Safety comes first and safeguards and measures will remain to reduce risk and give our communities and visitors alike confidence.”

The spokesman mentioned that Visit Wales, which is run by the Welsh Government, were looking into an 'extended season' after feedback from those in the industry and appealed for more long-term funding from the UK Government for help with the broader Welsh economy.

He added: "We are committed to doing everything possible to support and have been working with the tourism industry which is why we already have a range of support packages in place.

"We are providing a comprehensive £1.7bn package of support for businesses in Wales, which includes the Economic Resilience Fund – this goes over and above the support available elsewhere in the UK and complements schemes, such as the Job Retention Scheme, provided by the UK Government."

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