Restarting attendance at trade shows

Attendance at trade shows is one of the most important elements of our work to promote Greater Manchester to a global audience as a place to visit, invest, meet and study, and the Marketing Manchester team would usually take part in one or two shows per month in pre-Covid times.

We were therefore delighted to restart our attendance at trade shows at the end of last month as part of our plan towards the gradual recovery of the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector.

First up was Britain & Ireland Marketplace (BIM) which is organised by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA). Attended by key destinations, attractions and tourism providers from the UK and Ireland, this year’s virtual event saw Tim Manley and Emma Gordon from our marketing team meet with 22 tour operators from the US, Europe and Asia for 10-minute “speed-dating” appointments. The agents met were all positively looking forward to the re-opening of travel, busy planning their programmes for the 2022 season and actively looking for new bookable products to include in their itineraries. There was lots of interest in Greater Manchester and in the new bookable experiences being developed in the city as part of the Discover England Fund project.

International Media Marketplace (IMM) North America also took place late January, attended by Andy Parkinson from our PR and communications team. IMM is one of the travel industry’s best media networking events, with around 500 American and Canadian journalists, broadcasters and content creators in attendance. Andy had 24 virtual meetings with media colleagues to pitch ideas, discuss trends and plan future media visits to Greater Manchester when possible to do so again. Our 21 new things to look forward to in Greater Manchester in 2021 – and beyond content formed the main basis of discussion and was very warmly received.

And this week, Stephanie Newton and the Manchester Convention Bureau team are attending MeetEngland Virtual 2021 where they have 20 one-to-one meetings scheduled with meeting agencies, event and incentive planners within the North American, European and Chinese markets. To kick start the event the team – along with representatives from the English Core Cities – launched Hybrid Event Solutions UK, a free new service that will deliver a series of live event hubs across the UK, allowing delegates to attend the same national event at Covid-secure venues.

Upcoming trade shows of note that we are attending include: VisitBritain’s travel trade event ExploreGB Virtual 1-4 March; North American Marketplace on 4 March which will replicate ETOA’s BIM format but for a North American audience; and global travel meeting ITB Berlin 9-12 March.

Useful tourism updates from VisitBritain

Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loan borrowers 

On Monday, the Chancellor announced repayment flexibilities for Bounce Back Loan borrowers, with the ability to tailor payments according to individual circumstances. The scheme provides the option for small and medium-sized businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new options include:

  • Extending the length of the loan from six to ten years (reducing monthly repayments by almost half);
  • Making interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan;
  • Pausing repayments for up to six months. This will be available to all from their first repayment, rather than after six repayments have been made. This means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.

This is in addition to the Government covering the costs of interest for the first year of the loan.

From this week lenders should begin reaching out to borrowers to provide information on repayment schedules and how to access flexible repayment options. Borrowers should only expect correspondence three months before their first repayments are due.

Small and medium-sized businesses can apply to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

If a business already has a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than they were entitled to, the existing loan can be topped up to the maximum amount. The top-up request must be made by 31 March 2021.

Guidance on funding for employers looking to create jobs placements for young people

Guidance is now available on the Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months;
  • Associated employer National Insurance contributions;
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021. Further funding is available to provide support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.

Find more information on eligibility, how to apply and the job placement criteria here.

Mandatory hotel quarantine to be introduced from 15 February

Last week the Government announced that from 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days. Further details will be set soon on how passengers will be able to book into the designated accommodation facilities.

Applications for Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs extended 

The Christmas Support Payment (CSP) supports wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment has been extended to 28 February 2021.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update 

Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021.

Manchester’s session at The London Real Estate Forum

Last week Greater Manchester had a presence at The London Real Estate Forum: Virtual Investment Summit, which brought together key decision-makers from the industry, government, investment, and business communities to drive sustainable investment and development in cities.

Manchester’s virtual session, “Manchester: People, Place, Prosperity”, was organised by Marketing Manchester and led by a panel including Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; highlighting why the city has both the foundations and building blocks to re-establish its previous momentum as the UK’s premier growth city.

Manchester Misses You campaign call out

With the re-introduction of national lockdown we’ve turned our ‘Manchester Misses You’ campaign back on across our digital platforms. The campaign aims to inspire from the sofa providing vibrant virtual content including cultural and educational experiences about Greater Manchester that can be enjoyed whilst staying at home. The campaign is supported by a social media campaign and new content from our members is welcomed. Please send contributions to stuart.aiken@marketingmanchester.com.

Apply now: DCMS full fibre broadband competition for venues

As part of the Tourism Sector Deal and the UK Government’s International Business Events Action Plan, DCMS launched a new scheme in August 2019 to improve broadband connectivity in event venues, enabling them to receive full fibre access. The second round of the broadband competition for event venues is now open until 2 March 2021 whereby applicants can apply for a share of the £200,000 funding.

This round is open to event venues with a minimum capacity of 250 delegates and is also allowing venues to demonstrate involvement in plans to bid for international events in the next five years, rather than the next year only (which was required during the first round of the competition).

Applicants who applied for first round funding but were not successful are welcome to apply for second round funding by submitting a new application. All applicants will be treated equally and first round funding applications will not be considered or relevant.

Winners will receive a portion of the £200,000 fund (exact costs will vary per site). The upgraded connectivity will be in the form of a new full fibre gigabit capable infrastructure, which can support increased Wi-Fi capacity, more interactive content, and live streaming. This scheme offers the chance for venues to boost their digital connectivity and, in turn, produce stronger bids to secure international events.

Applicants can apply now using the Google application form.

Partner and sector news

Each week we provide a list of suggested links, reading and actions that our partners may find useful across the various sectors we promote.

Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis the Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub has been available to ensure that tourism and hospitality businesses are given the most up to date information including reopening standards and guidance.

In addition, our colleagues in the Business Growth Hub have launched a new suite of support services specifically aimed at tourism and hospitality businesses who need practical advice at this current time. Anyone who needs specific and detailed support should  contact: supporthub@marketingmanchester.com