Welcome to Yorkshire Industry Survey
Reveals Need for Reassurance
as Restrictions are Eased.
- Industry sentiment survey highlights need for cautious approach to easing of lockdown restrictions
- Tourism and hospitality industry business responses indicate a preference to retain mask-wearing regulation
A week prior to easing of all lockdown restrictions on July 19th, Welcome to Yorkshire distributed an industry survey across social media channels, inviting businesses to share their sentiments.
Over the course of a week, survey responses revealed that 63% are not ready for all restrictions to be relaxed, 31% welcome the decision, while 6% would prefer a hybrid approach. Given the choice between mask-wearing, social distancing and track & trace, 57% opted for mask-wearing and 15% would like to see social distancing stay in place. Track & trace was the least popular at 8% and 6% would like to see all or a mix of restrictive measures remain.
The responses also indicate over 60% nervousness and apprehension as opinions from a business, employee and customer perspective were questioned on feelings towards restrictions being lifted, which is further substantiated by an increase in cancellations and reduced staffing due to self-isolation requirements through the NHS track-and-trace system.
Welcome to Yorkshire CEO James Mason said: “We were able to speak with many of the general public and our members at last week’s Great Yorkshire Show, a successful event held outdoors and with clear attendance instructions that made everyone feel safe. There was a palpable degree of excitement mixed with trepidation that is reflected not only in our recent survey but in talks with our members.
Clearly there is a lot of work to be done to instil confidence in public perception that venues are operating safely and responsibly, and that can only be achieved with precise communication and positive visitor experiences. Likewise, from the supplier’s perspective it is absolutely imperative that the general public will respect their choice to retain whatever level of restrictions they wish to do so for the safety of their employees, customers and business as a whole.”
As a county Yorkshire has one of the highest numbers of businesses registered to the UK’s nationwide safety scheme We’re Good to Go, introduced last year by Visit Britain. In June this year Welcome to Yorkshire and the TUC launched a joint poster awareness campaign, encouraging everyone to respect the safety of staff and customers by keeping windows and doors in tourism locations open.
The joint campaign, by the union federation and the tourism body, was created after concerns that certain health messaging about ventilation was not necessarily being responded to. Posters were designed for display in hospitality and culture venues, highlighting the importance of fresh air and ventilation in reducing Covid transmission.
Area Manager and tourism industry expert at Welcome to Yorkshire, Liz Smailes, said, “Depending on where you are in the world right now, and your experiences while travelling, the industry’s apparent recovery is very different. While we’re all eager to begin travelling and welcoming international visitors again, to unlock or retain is a question that brings out responses as divisive as marmite.
The U.S. has been opening up gradually for a few months, with increasing numbers of passengers flying domestically again, but that’s also resulting in extreme price elasticity responding to pent-up demand and limited supply across all sectors of the travel industry from flight tickets to hotel stays and attraction venues.
In Europe the situation is a lot more complicated, inevitably, as more border crossings see varying regulations between countries opening their doors to citizens of some nations but not to others, complicated further when restrictions are imposed and lifted, only to be reimposed again. This was evidenced over the weekend with the reimposition of quarantine on UK citizen’s returning from France. There is a similar pattern of opening and closing borders, lockdowns and other social measures across Asia, too, as well as a struggle to procure and roll out widespread vaccinations.
Much of the pressure to open up is because the U.K holds a unique and important hub status in aviation, which means that its role in the global travel industry has such a driving influence on the sector. This is also why our inbound and outbound travel companies are still feeling crippled by the traffic light system at a time when nationally the hospitality and tourism sector opens to potentially full capacity on Monday July 19th. The consequence of this is conflicting messages of confidence in the market domestically and internationally.
The government’s decision to end all community and travel restrictions just as infection rates soar once more is making consumers and suppliers very nervous, and this is clearly reflected in the Welcome to Yorkshire sentiment survey results. Furthermore, the appearance of opening up fully is not a true reflection of real business on the books, as reduced staffing issues in venues and operationally back of house present challenges and force opening hours and services to be restricted. Adding to this, many of the stays and visits realised now are deferred bookings from previous cancellations or pre-paid vouchers, and therefore not generating new income.”
Last year Welcome to Yorkshire gathered industry professionals together to create a Tourism Recovery Task Group, chaired by CEO of The Piece Hall Trust in Halifax, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL.. This week the group will meet to identify and address the emerging industry needs as Step 4 out of lockdown is activated, review Welcome to Yorkshire’s sentiment survey results and develop a path forwards for Yorkshire’s tourism and hospitality recovery.
In the meantime, on analysing the results of the sentiment survey Welcome to Yorkshire urges the general public to be understanding and respectful of the individual business choices and decisions to retain or lift certain restrictions from July 19th and to be mindful of psychological impact that lockdown has had on people. James Mason concluded “Visitors and customers to our county will remember that attention to detail and the care shown by Yorkshire businesses, acknowledging that not everyone is a comfortable about the pace of reopening.”
The full survey review is available here: industry.yorkshire.com
- ENDS –
- Welcome to Yorkshire is the official destination marketing organisation for Yorkshire, working to grow the county’s visitor economy.
- Welcome to Yorkshire is a not-for-profit membership organisation, funded in part by grants, sponsorship and Welcome to Yorkshire members. All money raised is reinvested directly back into promoting Yorkshire.
- Key facts include:
- Tourism in Yorkshire pre-pandemic was worth £9 billion annually
- The county’s tourism and hospitality industry pre-pandemic employed almost 225 thousand people
- Tag Welcome to Yorkshire in any coverage on Twitter and Facebook using our handles: @welcome2yorks and https://www.facebook.com/welcometoyorkshire
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Contact: Carolyn Nicoll – Head of Communications and Editor of This Is Y E:email@example.com M: 07719 673029