The main item on the agenda at the Cross Party Group for Tourism (04/02/2021) was possible date/s for the tourism sector to reopen in Wales. None were given. Instead, the Welsh Government reiterated that they are unable to give specific date/s as any decisions to reopen will be based on a number of unknown factors e.g infection rates, vaccination rates, hospital admissions etc etc. The CPG members were pointed toward the Coronavirus Control Plan for Wales (https://gov.wales/coronavirus-control-plan-wales ) released in January. Whilst it does provide a clear set of criteria for entering or exiting an alert level and what restrictions are associated with each alert level it is a Coronavirus Control Plan, not a Tourism re-opening schedule.
The change in attitudes, expectations and needs of our visitors was discussed. As we re-open, whenever the health agenda allows, we will without doubt be moving into a much changed economic and social landscape. Will public transport be able to operate at much lower densities; do we have the infrastructure to support electric vehicles; do some of our customers need to be convinced to return after the negative vibes shed by the discontented? So whilst we are not out of the woods yet and we are all keen to emerge as quickly as possible, we need to be exceptionally and arguably better prepared than at the end of the last lock-down.
Much of the Welsh population is supported by tourism, that importance still needs to be acknowledged, particularly politically. The WTA will also need an assurance from the next Welsh Government that they will continue with a dedicated Tourism Minister.
So what do we want? A plan that addresses the above, is easy to engage with, understand and one that comes with the necessary resources to do the job. A plan was outlined by Visit Wales at the meeting, further details to follow. So in the meantime we urge all businesses to use the coronavirus control plan and the PHW data to start to plan ahead for when we are able to re-open our businesses. Whenever that is?