Last week was English Tourism Week, normally a time of activities and events to celebrate the thousands of businesses that make up the tourism industry, but this year it was used to raise awareness of how to help secure the sector’s future.
Cumbria Tourism says as we enter June, the beginning of a recovery is becoming evident with the county’s economy as a whole beginning to open-up and many people starting to return to their jobs. In the coming months, the organisation expects to see new sectors opening up, including retail.
Considering the aims of English Tourism Week in previous years, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This year of course things have been a little different, for the past few months our tourism industry has understandably been closed but with the consequential risk to thousands of jobs and businesses. So this year the focus was on recognising the importance of the sector to our place, our economies, communities, livelihoods, health and wellbeing and our spirit!”
The Government has set 4 July as the target date to begin reopening the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors and Cumbria Tourism is working closely with businesses as they make preparations now, so that when the time comes the industry can open up with strong safe tourism measures in place.
Gill Haigh continues, “As an industry we are committed to working together to help get Cumbria ready and our tourism economy back on track – in turn protecting jobs, the economy and the way of life we all benefit from. Putting people first is at the heart of business’ rigorous safety assessments and plans. There is an awful lot to factor in.
“Restaurants, for example, will see changes made in kitchens to ensure chefs remain two metres apart, further enabling visitor and staff safety. The way our visitors browse menus is likely to change, in many cases with personal electronic devices used rather than the traditional methods. Accommodation providers are factoring in social distancing, enhanced cleaning regimes, contactless check-in and check-out procedures too. Attractions similarly are working to ensure customer and employee safety. With people already allowed to visit outdoor areas like gardens and other land maintained for public use, businesses whose offer includes open green spaces are also taking steps to ensure they can open safely. Visitors too, will need to think differently. Planning visits in advance, checking and booking ahead, and thinking about travel arrangements as well as eating and drinking must all be considered.”
Nationally, a safe tourism kite mark is being rolled-out in the coming days, setting out the steps which businesses need to take, which business can then use as a further sign of reassurance for our communities and visitors.
“We are very lucky to have a large rural location with many off the beaten track areas which makes social distancing easier”, Gill continues.
“With new, safe measures being prepared for car parks to further help limit social contact, this is the perfect place to recharge, reconnect, reflect and rediscover. The industry is flexible and able to adapt to any changes in government guidance, so we are constantly pushing hard at government level for updates.
“Perhaps one small positive of lockdown has been the unique opportunity to rediscover the beauty and value of what’s on our doorstep. Perhaps too often we choose to travel away for our holidays but over the last few months, as exercise restrictions relax and as we start to see parts of the industry reopen, now is the perfect time for us ‘locals’ to invite friends and family to holiday with us in the county, to reconnect, rediscover old experiences and explore new ones with fresh appreciation.
“By doing so, we will be not only guaranteeing ourselves an unforgettable holiday but we will collectively be supporting 65,000 local jobs, supporting our tourism businesses who, in turn, will ensure a fantastic cultural, food and drink and retail offer, and help underpin our communities and way of life too.”