WELCOME to Yorkshire conducted an industry survey on its social media channels earlier this week, inviting businesses in the region to share their views ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions starting tomorrow.
Responses to the survey revealed that 63% are “not ready” to see all restrictions relaxed, while 31% welcome the decision and 6% would prefer a “hybrid” approach.
Given the choice between wearing a mask, social distancing, and tracking and traceability, 57% of companies opted to wear a mask and 15% said they would like social distancing to remain.
Tracking and tracing were the least popular at eight percent, while six percent said they would like all or a mix of restrictive measures to remain.
Responses also indicate that over 60 percent of companies were “nervous” before the 19th.
Welcome Yorkshire CEO James Mason said: “We were able to speak with a large part of the general public and our members at last week’s Great Yorkshire Show, a successful event held outdoors and with participation instructions clear that made everyone feel safe.
“There was a palpable degree of excitement mixed with apprehension that was reflected not only in our recent survey, but also in the discussions with our members.
“Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done to instill confidence in the public perception that sites operate in a safe and responsible manner, and this can only be achieved with precise communication and positive experiences for visitors. .
“Likewise, from a supplier’s point of view, it is absolutely imperative that the general public respect their choice to maintain the level of restrictions they desire for the safety of their employees, customers and the company as a whole. . ”
As a county, Yorkshire has one of the largest numbers of businesses on the UK’s ‘We’re ready to go’ national security program, introduced last year by Visit Britain.
In June this year, Welcome to Yorkshire and the TUC launched a joint awareness poster campaign, encouraging everyone to respect the safety of staff and customers by keeping windows and doors open at tourist sites.
The joint campaign, by the union federation and the tourism body, was created after concerns that some health messages on ventilation were not necessarily being answered.
Posters have been designed for display in hospitality and cultural venues, highlighting the importance of fresh air and ventilation in reducing the transmission of Covid.
Welcome to Yorkshire area manager and tourism industry expert Liz Smailes said: “Depending on where you are in the world now and your travel experiences, the apparent recovery in the industry is very different. While we’re all eager to start traveling and welcoming international visitors again, unlocking or holding back is a question that elicits answers as controversial as pot.
“The United States has been gradually opening up over the past few months, with increasing numbers of passengers traveling back to the domestic market, but this also translates into extreme price elasticity responding to pent-up demand and limited supply in the US. all sectors of the travel industry, from airline tickets to hotel stays and attractions.
“In Europe, the situation is much more complicated, inevitably, as more and more border posts see different regulations between countries opening their doors to citizens of some nations but not others, made more complicated when restrictions are imposed. and lifted, to be re-imposed again.
“This was demonstrated over the weekend with the reimposition of quarantine on British citizens returning from France.
“There is also a similar pattern of border opening and closing, closures and other social measures across Asia, as well as a struggle to obtain and roll out widespread vaccinations.
“Much of the pressure to open up is because the UK holds a unique and important aviation hub status, which means its role in the global travel industry has such a influence on the sector.
“This is also why our inbound and outbound travel agencies still feel crippled by the traffic light system, at a time when nationally the hospitality and tourism sector is potentially opening at full capacity. Monday The consequence is contradictory messages of confidence on the national and international market.
“The government’s decision to end all community and travel restrictions as infection rates soar again is making consumers and suppliers very nervous, and this is clearly reflected in the survey results. the feeling of Welcome to Yorkshire.
“Further, the appearance of full openness is not an accurate reflection of actual business, as the issues of reduced staff at sites and operationally at the back of the house present challenges and require opening hours and services to be limited.
“On top of that, many stays and visits being made now are delayed bookings of previous cancellations or prepaid vouchers, and therefore do not generate new revenue. ”
Last year, Welcome to Yorkshire brought together industry professionals to create a Tourism Revival Task Force, chaired by The Piece Hall Trust CEO in Halifax, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL.
This week, the group will meet to identify and respond to emerging industry needs as Stage 4 out of lockdown is activated, review the results of the Welcome to Yorkshire sentiment survey, and develop a way forward for the resumption of tourism and hospitality in Yorkshire.
In the meantime, in analyzing the results of the sentiment survey, Welcome to Yorkshire urges the general public to be understanding and respectful of individual business choices and decisions to keep or lift certain restrictions and to be aware of the psychological impact. that the lock has had. on the people.
James Mason concluded: “Visitors and customers to our county will remember this attention to detail and care shown by Yorkshire businesses, recognizing that not everyone is comfortable with the pace of the business. reopening.”
The full survey results will be available this week on industry.yorkshire.com.