Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
You will be aware that all VCD campaign and marketing activity stopped in March; the team focus switched to business support, advice and guidance, and the development of a virtual visit content hub and micro site - www.thisisdurham.com/lovedurham, encouraging consumers to ‘#LoveDurham from your sofa.’
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday 10 May, regarding it now being possible to drive to other locations for exercise, irrespective of distance, we do not intend to change our consumer messaging at this stage.
We do not feel this is a message suitable for the destination at this time. There is still widespread concern within the industry that the loosening of restrictions may see a return to crowded car parks and people flocking to rural and coastal locations, at a time when the resident community is still concerned about an influx of visitors. Therefore, we will continue to focus on promoting a ‘virtual visit’ to the county, which in essence is an inspiration and planning tool for a future visit, whenever that may be.
We are working closely with local, regional and national partners on recovery planning for Durham’s visitor economy, and acknowledge that building confidence amongst businesses, as well as consumers, with regards to adhering to Government guidelines will be key to recovery, and we will continue to support businesses and consult them in our recovery planning.
By working in partnership with the industry, we will be ready to promote our amazing county, to existing and new audiences, when it is appropriate to do so.
Michelle Gorman, managing director and Ivor Stolliday, chair of Visit County Durham.
Help us Save our Industry
By the time the tourism industry opens it will already have lost four months of trading. Social distancing restrictions will limit opportunities to recoup losses, with additional costs of PPE and other measures, and before we know it winter will be upon us again. Our survey work shows that business confidence beyond the summer period plummets and the picture worsens further when looking a year or more ahead. Guaranteed Government support for the industry through the winter, confirmed now, is urgently required. That’s why we are working with Cumbria Tourism and backing a petition calling for this.
With your help let’s make this campaign gather national focus and get national support from politicians, industry and visitors.
Please can we ask for your help. Will you sign our petition and share the link and our social media posts with your staff, customers. Together let’s make our voices heard and help save businesses, jobs and services. #savetourismjobs
Latest information and Announcements
We would advise all partners to regularly check the VisitBritain and Government business support web pages, which are being continually updated with the latest advice and information for UK tourism businesses.
As the situation evolves, we recommend all County Durham tourism businesses and stakeholders stay informed by reading the latest health information from the above resources. Please also provide feedback and comments direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 14 different guides are available to help businesses work safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19) You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. You can also use the guidance finder if your business is opening soon to help you find the information most relevant to you.
- The Prime Minister has announced today that some proposed changes to the rules in August will be postponed for at least a fortnight. This means extending the requirement to wear a face covering to include museums, cinemas, libraries and places of worship; wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted; indoor performances will not resume; casinos, bowling alleys, and skating rinks will remain closed; and pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.
- Business are asked to help raise awareness of the government’s guidance for tourists who fall ill whilst on holiday in England. Dedicated copy for business to use to communicate with their customers is available – you can include the information as part of the customer booking confirmation and adopt the messaging on your marketing channels.
- NHS Test & Trace has launched a new campaign to encourage everyone to get a free test as soon as they get symptoms. Restaurants, pubs, salons and gyms are among the businesses who are being supported by NHS Test & Trace to log their customers to help contain the virus.
- Guidance has been issued by the Education and Skills Funding Agency on changes to the apprenticeship programme during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has today announced. Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track. The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Local Growth Hubs.
- The Culture Secretary has announced that applications will open soon for £880 million in grants as part of the government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund.
- The Arts Council is managing £500m of the £880m in grants announced as part of the government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund. Applicants can apply for grants of £50k to £3m from Monday 10th August to Friday 4th September. Information is now available via the Arts Council website and includes news about the £270m Culture Recovery Fund Repayable Finance loans and the £2.25m emergency fund for grassroots music venues.
Catch up on previous annnouncements on COVID-19