Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Keswick Tourism Association (KTA) have been working hard to support its members and keep them fully informed of developments.
With the phased exit from lockdown now underway KTA has an increased focus on planning for the future and ensuring all member businesses can open as soon and as safely as possible.
With this in mind, representatives of KTA, Anne Cornthwaite (KTA Chair & Guest House Owner), Tony Pinnick (KTA Director & Guest House Owner), Jan Boniface (KTA Director & Self-catering Owner), Debbie Beament (KTA Director & Activity Provider), Chris Harper (KTA Member & Retailer) and Vanessa Metcalfe (KTA Tourism Manager), attended a Zoom meeting with MP, Trudy Harrison last Friday (29th May) to discuss concerns and seek further support for hospitality businesses.
It was encouraging to learn that guidance for hospitality businesses is expected within the next 10 days and that all Cumbrian MP’s are working together for the benefit of the County, however, it was clear that there is still work to be done to ensure a strong recovery for tourism businesses. Debbie Beament of Keswick Climbing very clearly expressed the financial issues being faced when she said that tourism businesses were essentially facing three winters in row.
Chris Harper, owner of Podgy Paws who have remained open during lockdown, agreed with this and said that their turnover had fallen to just 20% and current social distancing rules will have an impact on the ability to increase turnover once lockdown restrictions are eased. Debbie added to this that the 2m social distancing rules meant that it would be virtually impossible for activity providers to operate safely, if at all. Mrs Harrison confirmed that the 2m rule was currently under review with a view to reducing it to 1m if it was deemed safe to do so.
Other topics discussed included the possible requirements for accommodation businesses to re-open, the impact of quarantine requirements on overseas visitors, what further financial support would be available during the recovery phase, the new Test and Trace programme and the need for more positive messaging from the Government to build public confidence.
Vanessa Metcalfe, Tourism Manager for KTA said: “This was a really positive meeting and a number of actions have been taken away by Mrs Harrison. KTA are committed to continuing to work closely with our member businesses, community leaders and other key stakeholder organisations so that our businesses can re-open whilst also ensuring the safety of both residents and visitors.
“With this in mind we have asked for a further meeting with Mrs Harrison along with Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Dept. for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) once the guidance for hospitality businesses has been published.”