The Business Gateway Growth Hub recently hosted another webinar in a series of seminars on ‘Implementing COVID19 measures in the workplace’.
The webinar, aimed at the tourism and hospitality sector, featured VisitEngland’s Head of Business Transformation Project, Janet Uttley, talking about the 'We're Good to Go' industry quality standard and mark for businesses to use when restarting.
The webinar was to help businesses understand what they need to do to reassure consumers they are safe to visit, but also how to offer a warm welcome and enjoyable visitor experience. The Leicester and Leicestershire tourism and hospitality industry is, in some ways, very well placed to adapt.
The region does not attract mass tourism, yet has miles of peaceful countryside, plenty of outdoor attractions and activities and, in many areas, a coffee outside is normal almost all year round. Much of the accommodation is small B&B's and hotels, where visitors are less likely to come into contact with other people.
As pubs, restaurants, cafés, hotels and campsites begin to reopen, there were further government announcements last week to support the hospitality and tourism sectors when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £30bn package of support to rescue the economy.
Measures included a six-month VAT cut for restaurants, hotels and attractions from 20% to 5% till January 12, 2021 and an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme offering 50% off (up to £10 a head) meals and non-alcoholic drinks on Monday to Wednesday throughout August. The scheme is open for businesses to apply now.
However, there are still many businesses unsure of the best steps to take to re-open. The webinar offered valuable tips on how to promote businesses and improve customer confidence that they are safe to visit.
Janet Uttley was joined by Meryl Levington, a highly experienced independent expert who provided advice on specific concerns and local businesses; Bybrook Barn B&B and National Forest E-Bike Holidays, who shared their best practice in building consumer confidence.
Janet said: "VisitEngand's 'We're Good to Go' industry standard and mark provides a ring of confidence for visitors, residents and employees supporting tourism businesses across the country as they open. I was delighted to participate in the webinar and provide guidance to the local industry as we work together to get tourism back on its feet."
Sue Jerham, Director at National Forest E-Bike Holidays added: "We’re delighted to have attained the VisitEngland Good to Go standard and to be welcoming guests to Leicestershire's and the National Forest's many outdoor attractions and peaceful countryside.
"The process of attaining the VisitEngland Good to Go standard was straightforward. There was plenty of guidance to help tourism and hospitality businesses think through their own requirements and helpful support for answering specific enquiries.
"Our COVID 19 risk assessments considered all aspects of the holidays we offer and we have introduced additional new cleaning and social distancing protocols and code of conduct guidelines to help look after our guests.
"We also ensure that the wonderful small B&B's and hotels that we use have the Good to Go or similar standard in place. All details are available on our website, so guests can be confident that we have considered their safety throughout their holiday."
Jon Egley, Growth Hub Manager, commented: "The collaboration between the Growth Hub, VisitEngland and local businesses has broken down barriers for those in the tourism and hospitality sector in Leicester and Leicestershire, as it means they can access valuable information directly.
“As a Growth Hub, our remit is to support businesses, however we can, to meet their needs. This includes our business adviser service offering guidance and advice to individual businesses, in addition to our grant funding programme, access to finance signposting and range of webinar events.
"local businesses that are seeking support and advice right now, should contact the Growth Hub where a friendly adviser will be happy to assist."
Find a dedicated Covid-19 business toolkit packed with information for businesses on the Business Gateway Growth Hub website.