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27/08/2020 By : Nabeela Hussain

COVID-19 update 26 August

Here is today’s update, which includes the revised inbound outlook for the UK in 2020 from VisitBritain, as well as a trip tracker survey from VisitEngland looking at travel intentions for the August bank holiday.

Hospitality businesses in Aberdeen to reopen from 26 August

In line with the lifting of local lockdown restrictions in Aberdeen, restaurants, pubs, cafés, casinos and other hospitality premises are able to reopen from today, 26 August. Other restrictions have been lifted including a five-mile travel limit and restrictions on gatherings, and other businesses in Aberdeen are allowed to open in line with Scotland’s national route map for reopening.

Further financial support announced for tourism businesses in Scotland

I have been informed about a support programme for larger hotels in Scotland that have been affected by the pandemic.  To note that the programme closes for applications on 9 September. 

In addition, VisitScotland announced the details of a £6 million fund on Monday to help the events sector recover from the pandemic while restrictions on the sector are still in place.

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme statistics (23 August)

New figures show that restaurants have claimed reimbursement for 64 million meals or purchases so far through the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. The latest statistics on the scheme as of 23 August show that:

·         84,000 individual restaurant premises have registered for the scheme

·         87,000 claims have been received by HMRC

·         The total value of claims has reached £336 million

VisitBritain report: Revised inbound forecast for the UK in 2020

The inbound outlook for the UK in 2020 from VisitBritain has been revised as of 25 August. Key updates from the revised forecast:

  • VB’s central scenario forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020, as of 25 August, is for a decline of 73% in visits to 11.0 million and a decline of 79% in spending to £6.0 billion. This would represent a loss vs the pre-COVID forecast of 30.7 million visits and £24.0 billion spending.

  • This central scenario assumes that a vaccine will not be widely available during 2020. It assumes that the UK will not go back to the April-June situation of national lockdown and near-zero international travel although it is consistent with some local lockdowns being imposed.

  • A major short-term uncertainty in inbound tourism prospects is which countries will require quarantine upon arrival. Quarantine exemptions for many countries took effect from 10 July; however, since then the requirement has been re-imposed for several countries. At time of writing, around half of potential European visitors would face quarantine, including those from near neighbours France, Belgium and Netherlands, and the vast majority of visitors from non-European countries would face quarantine. The forecast assumes that quarantine restrictions are, in aggregate, eased gradually over the rest of the year but even by the end of 2020 it assumes that some European and most non-European visitors are likely to still face restrictions on arrival.

Notes about the forecast:

  • From mid-March to mid-July, COVID-19 triggered a near-total shutdown in international tourism to/from the UK. Forecasting at this time was difficult, given the fast-moving situation and the unique circumstances. Events are moving fast during the COVID-19 pandemic and the outlook can change daily. VB’s new central scenario therefore reflects a snapshot in time based on current understanding and a set of assumptions. Subsequent developments could change the outlook.

  • This central scenario is merely one possible outturn and involves several assumptions and simplifications due to the fast-moving and uncertain situation; it is therefore subject to revision as the situation develops.

  • This is a short-term forecast. The longer-term impact and path to recovery depend, apart from the progression of the pandemic and treatments/vaccines, on wider demand (especially economic) and supply factors.

Bank Holiday Domestic Trip Tracker from VisitEngland (August 2020)

Please see the full report from a VisitEngland survey looking at domestic travel intentions during the upcoming August bank holiday. Some key insights from the report. 

  • 9% of adults in Britain definitely plan to take a holiday in the UK over the August Bank Holiday (4.8M adults) and 9% definitely plan to take a holiday in England (4.5M adults). This corresponds to an estimated spend of £1.2 billion in the UK, and £1.1 billion in England alone.

  • Among those who are planning or considering an overnight trip, 56% are planning a holiday or short break, and 35% plan to visit friends and relatives.

  • In total, 10% of British adults ‘definitely’ plan to take an overnight trip over the August bank holiday weekend, and 13% are undecided. The top two factors for deciding are waiting to see what the weather will be like, followed by concerns around COVID-19.

  • 12% of Brits will ‘definitely’ take a day trip over the August bank holiday weekend, and a further 26% ‘might or might not’.

Industry updates

Gatwick Airport has announced plans for a significant restructure across its business designed to further reduce operating and staff costs due to the impact of the pandemic, including potentially cutting around 600 job roles (24% of its current employees).

Lufthansa Group is waiving booking fees for Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines flights through the end of 2020.

  • Analysis from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts that the UK economy will lose £22 billion in 2020, about £60 million per day, due to the collapse of international travel this year.

Urgent Call for Volunteers for Conference Trial

As you will be aware, the Government has decided to undertaking a series of trial events ahead of the conference, events and exhibitions sectors being reopened on 1st October in order to determine how these events should be organised to ensure that they are Covid Safe. These trial events will determine whether all appropriate mitigations are in place, and whether any parts of the existing guidance need to be strengthened or changed to support the sector to organise future business events.

To help with this, another 50 volunteers are needed to attend a conference event at the Hilton Canary Wharf on Thursday 3rd September 11am-2pm

If you are interested could you please put together a list of individuals at your organisation who can join and send this to the DCMS Tourism team [email protected] by COP Thursday 27th August. Once you have done this, the venue will be in touch with you regarding registration details.

This is a good opportunity for those attending to understand how conferences will be held when they reopen so that you can inform your members and your own activities. And please note that by attending you need to permit your contact data to be shared with govt and the event organiser – and to be contacted by the event organiser.

The guidance on quarantining has been updated to say that people are able to only leave their self-isolation premises in England under exceptional circumstances. This includes such things as:

  • accessing basic necessities like food and medicines where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered.

  • moving to a different place for self-isolation where you can no longer remain where you are.

There may be other exceptional circumstances which may permit you to leave your place of self-isolation. You will need to consider carefully whether your circumstances are exceptional circumstances that require you to leave your place of self-isolation. It may be useful to seek advice from a medical or other professional to discuss your circumstances so that you can decide whether they require you to leave the accommodation where you are self-isolating.

People are not allowed to change the place of self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, including where there is:

  • a legal obligation requires to change address.

  • it is necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days.

  • there are exceptional circumstances in which it becomes impracticable to remain at the original address.

If this happens, they should provide full details of each address where they will self-isolate on the public health passenger locator form. 

Transport Use Update

DFT has produced the latest figures on transport use which shows that private and commercial transport is back to normal but public transport usage has stalled at between 30-50% of normal use depending on the transport type. While some of this will reflect lower commuter traffic due to people still working from home, it indicates that people are still concerned about travelling in close proximity to others.

CJRS Video Update

HMRC’s  video about the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing has been updated.

Situation update 26 August 2020

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