Wales ready to welcome visitors again

The First Minister Mark Drakeford will today see how tourism businesses are preparing to welcome back visitors to Wales as the sector prepares to open for the first time since the since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He will visit The Hide in St Donats, in the Vale of Glamorgan, to see the measures self-contained accommodation is putting in place, as the first visitors arrive in Wales today (Saturday July 11).

The visit comes after the First Minister announced a new – and extensive – package of measures to further lift Wales’ coronavirus restrictions, which will see large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, leisure and tourism industries re-open over the next three weeks.

As of Monday (13 July), pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to open outdoors, as well as most indoor attractions. The First Minister has also signalled tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites, can prepare to open from 25 July.

Detailed discussions about how hospitality businesses can operate in a coronavirus-safe way indoors are ongoing, with plans for reopening from 3 August, if conditions allow.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“This crisis has had a profound impact on the visitor economy – at a time when our businesses should have been experiencing a busy Easter, they were turning guests away.  We are now cautiously reopening tourism in Wales in a phased way, which will give businesses, staff visitors and communities the confidence for a successful reopening.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Wales and to see people from Wales revisiting their favourite places again and discovering new ones.

“Over the summer we want people to visit Wales safely – by looking after their health; protecting this beautiful land and by leaving no trace behind; caring for the countryside by sticking to paths and leaving gates as they are found and keeping dogs on leads.  Let us all embrace Wales’ open spaces and avoid crowded areas, wherever we can.

“We can enjoy the best of Wales by choosing local businesses and buying Welsh produce, making a difference to local economies and experiencing the culture and language of Wales and respecting communities which are ready to welcome us back.”

Paula Warren from The Hide, said:

“We’re delighted to once again be able to welcome visitors to the Hide, we’ve missed our visitors are looking to forward to the rest of the summer.  Our number one priority is the well-being and safety of our guests and team members. To secure just that, we have rigorous procedures and routines in place regarding enhanced cleaning and physical distancing.  We want our guests to have the confidence that everything is in hand so that they can get on relax and enjoy their holiday.”

As people prepare to start exploring Wales again, Visit Wales has introduced a pledge to encourage everyone who visits Wales to care for each other, for the land and for our communities. The pledge, which encourages everyone to do the little things that make a big difference can be signed at www.visitwales.com/promise

Visitors are also being asked to plan ahead as much as possible and to book their stay in Wales. The Welsh Government has published guidance about what people will need to do if they experience coronavirus symptoms during their stay in Wales. The guidance also includes advice for businesses to help the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service identify and control any future outbreaks.

Tourism businesses are working hard to keep visitors safe. The Barod Amdani/We’re Good To Go industry standard and supporting mark is a UK-wide initiative, which allows businesses across the sector to demonstrate they are following government and public health guidance, have carried out a coronavirus risk assessment and can check they have the required processes in place.

The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the sector.  More than 1,500 businesses in Wales signed up in the first 48 hours, showing a commitment to ensuring a responsible and safe approach to reopening.