VisitBritain updates on Government guidance for tourism

Following the recent national lockdown restrictions that came in to place on 5 November 2020, the Government has updated its Visitor Economy Guidance. As you will know from previous updates, certain businesses and venues have been ordered to close, details of which can be found in the guidance.

The Visitor Economy guidance states that event spaces, including in conference centres and exhibition halls, can be used for reasons permitted by law, including for business events of up to 30 where reasonably necessary, for education and training purposes where reasonably necessary, or to provide socially beneficial public services such as Nightingale hospitals or food banks. Conference centres and exhibition halls should remain closed for conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining or banqueting events.

There is also detailed guidance for accommodation providers and heritage locations.

Hotel and other guest accommodation guidance 

The latest guidance states that accommodation providers, whether in a hotel, hostel, B&B, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house, canal boat or any other vessel must close unless the exemptions set out in law apply. Accommodation providers should only open for those who:

  • Are unable to return to their main residence;
  • Use that accommodation as their main residence;
  • Need accommodation while moving home or attending a funeral;
  • Need to self-isolate as required by law;
  • Need accommodation for the purposes of their work, or children who need accommodation for the purposes of education;
  • Are elite athletes, their coach or (in the case of an elite athlete who is a child), the parent of an elite athlete, and need accommodation for the purposes of training or competition;
  • Are currently in that accommodation at the time when national restrictions come into force;
  • Are visiting from abroad on holiday or for work purposes;
  • Are being provided accommodation to relieve homelessness;

Other guidance includes that accommodation providers:

  • May keep their business open to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless or for the purposes of a women’s refuge or a vulnerable person’s refuge; to host blood donation sessions; or for any purpose requested by the Secretary of State, or a local authority.
  • Should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of restrictions when taking bookings and communicating to all customers, including those with existing bookings, reminding them not to travel unless it is essential (such as for work purposes or attending a funeral).
  • Should not intentionally facilitate bookings that do not adhere to government restrictions. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.
  • Should give guests a chance to cancel their existing bookings if they intend on no longer travelling and staying at the accommodation.
  • May refuse or cancel bookings. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations.
  • Are encouraged if a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer or if this cannot be arranged, to provide a refund (as they have for customers during the broader lockdown period, which may depend on the terms of the booking contract).

Restaurants and bars within guest accommodation should remain closed although food and/or drink including alcohol can be provided through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online. Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests, but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should be encouraged not to gather and social distancing should be observed.

Business meetings and events are advised against, but may take place with up to a total of 30 people if reasonably necessary – for example for the purposes of work that cannot be done at home – if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Event spaces can be used for reasons permitted by law, including for education and training purposes where reasonably necessary.

Guidance for heritage locations 

Some heritage locations can still be visited because they are outside, as long as the current social distancing rules are observed. These include historic parks, gardens, landscapes, and ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where these are paid-for attractions. You should only visit them with:

  • the people you live with;
  • your support bubble;
  • or, when on your own, one person from another household.

Children under five, as well as disabled people dependent on round-the-clock care, are not counted towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

Roofed historic buildings and fully enclosed spaces will be closed, although their attached grounds, including car parks, toilets and outdoor play areas, can remain open.

Other guidance updates  

The following guidance has also been updated in line with current national restrictions:

Other updates 

  • A new graphical poster displaying information about the national restrictions in England is available to download.
  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated to explain that overseas services and in-country immigration services will remain open, but dependent on local country restrictions. Also, the period for requesting exceptional assurance has been extended when applying to enter the UK or remain on the basis of family or private life.

Marketing Manchester attends VisitBritain PR Connect

Last week, Marketing Manchester’s communications team attended the virtual edition of VisitBritain’s PR Connect event, holding one-to-one meetings with colleagues in overseas offices including China, India, USA, Germany, Spain and France.

The event is a chance for the communications team to relay new stories and feature ideas for colleagues in market to share with their media contacts and recruit participants for media visits. The event is also an invaluable means of gathering market intel in order to understand the feeling and driving forces within each market and the capacity for future travel.

Most markets report that there is a huge amount of pent up demand for travel to the UK when it is safe, and they are able to do so. Greater Manchester remains high on the wish list for both media and general consumers, particularly with many new reasons to travel here over the coming years such as to visit the new RHS Bridgewater Garden in Salford and major events such as the Manchester International Festival 2021.

In a normal year Marketing Manchester hosts around 200 journalists on media visits to Greater Manchester, many of which are organised in partnership with VisitBritain. To find out more about our media visit programme, please contact Andy.Parkinson@marketingmanchester.com.

Register now: NatWest North of England Tourism Business Barometer Roundtable, Friday 20 November

Over the last sixteen weeks the NatWest North of England Tourism Business Barometer has taken the temperature of the North’s tourism business environment including shifts in employment, trends in revenue and overall business confidence. The study commenced in mid-July when the UK was emerging out of lockdown and covers a period up to and including the introduction of the government’s three tier alert system in late October.

On behalf of NatWest and our eight DMO partners from across the North of England, Marketing Manchester invites you to join us for a special event at 09:30 on Friday 20 November where we will look at the journey that Northern businesses have undertaken throughout the study period and how we move forward through the challenging winter ahead.

The event will be chaired by Richard Topliss, Chairman of the North Regional Board at NatWest and will include insights from a senior economist, speakers from Marketing Manchester, including Sheona Southern and Nick Brooks-Sykes, as well as input from other DMO leaders and some of the businesses that have contributed to the barometer.

To register, please click here.

Partner and industry news

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