Bring Wales out of lockdown

by Webmaster, 17th June 2020

The Welsh tourism community is desperate for action. Here's their plea to Mark Drakeford, above, voiced by Frankie Hobro, director of Anglesey Sea Zoo

There is great concern within the Welsh tourism community and in many other related business sectors about the current lack of clarity and the inaction of the Welsh Government, in particular the First Minister Mark Drakeford, in the failure to commence the process of bringing Wales out of lockdown, and the phenomenal long term threat that this poses to Welsh tourism, industries and businesses as a whole.

We need as many people as possible to put pressure on the First Minister in the next 48 hours so that he takes our opinions on board and actions them this coming Friday in his next announcement. If he does not we will all have to wait in limbo for another 3 weeks until his next update in mid July, still without any roadmap or date for reopening. We simply cannot afford to do this as Wales will be left behind the rest of the UK and this will bring catastrophic long term effects to our economy.

We are asking everyone to write to their Assembly Member and MP in the next 24 hours to put across our concerns. The more people that can let the first Minister know our concerns the better. Business owners, business leaders and also employees who wish to voice their concern over the safety of their jobs as the industry is threatened.

There are 48,000 jobs directly in Tourism in North Wales alone, and twice that number which are related to or indirectly dependent upon tourism. Tourism contributes 6.32 billion pounds a year for the Welsh economy.  

The main issues we would like to raise are given here for a guideline for those who want it, but please encourage anyone who prefers to use their own approach to do so.

We request that:  

  • The current 5 mile limit must be lifted  
  • The border to Wales must be reopened
  • We must be given a road map for coming out of lockdown and definite dates ahead for tourism businesses and other non-essential sectors for reopening
  • We need clarity, reasoning and logic in the decision making process during the relaxation of lockdown rules to enable a level playing field and sufficient planning

Failure to meet these demands will have a devastating effect on Welsh tourism, particularly in rural areas, and will result in carnage for the Welsh economy and huge job losses

The specific concerns of the tourism sector are as follows:

1) The gap which is growing between tourism and other businesses reopening in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the effect upon short term visitor decision making as a result is huge. We are running out of time to prevent visitors heading elsewhere this summer and all business in Wales will suffer as a result of this.

2) The long term effects of a non viable summer are catastrophic.  Many businesses and employees will simply not have enough reserves to get to next season.  Without the ability to open this summer, or further sector support, there will be widespread closures and redundancies.  

North Wales Tourism and the North Wales Business Council are conducting a very quick survey on this issue, which was endorsed by WG.  I am happy to share the results as soon as they come out, which will be before Friday.

3) The lack of logic in referenced scientific decision making. It does not seem feasible that a garden centre can be open, yet an open garden such as Plas Newydd cannot?

4) The 5 mile radius is restricting local markets.  A wider radius of travel will also offer a soft local start to businesses and an outlet for residents to partake in well managed activity in an environment which can be made extremely Covid safe and meeting all regulations.

5) The immediate threat to animals within our Zoos and Aquariums. Without footfall, there is no income and the burden of feeding is in addition to other recipients of grant aid or interim loans.

6) In all above, we must work hard within public / private sector partnerships to gain the confidence of our communities so that when we are allowed, we can welcome visitors from other towns, counties, regions and eventually countries.   

As a Welsh business owner, sadly I have never felt more remote from decision making as I do now, within our communities, within Wales and within an ever more fragmented Britain.  

Our AMs and MPs are our representatives and must act as our conduits to urgently voice these critical matters to our Welsh Government before this Friday. 

Below are links to find your local AM/MP for those who may need it:

 Also, these might help

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Dafydd.Elis-Thomas@assembly.wales;
Minister for Finance Rebecca.Evans@assembly.wales;
Members of the Welsh Government Cross Party Tourism Group

Frankie Hobro
Tel: 01248 431917 /  07904 120980


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