The likelihood of the Welsh Government’s requirement to stay local being lifted on Monday 6th July and self-contained visitor accommodation (without shared facilities) being allowed to reopen on 13th July has resulted in Monmouthshire’s tourism industry making preparations to welcome visitors back to the county.
Tourism is an important element of Monmouthshire’s economy and in 2019 the county welcomed 2.28 million visitors who spent almost £245m and supported over 3,100 full-time jobs, helping to boost high streets and associated businesses.
The council recognises that it’s never been more important to support local businesses, and as high streets reopen it’s taken steps to encourage support for independent shops and town centres. As well as efficiently administering £22.4m worth of grants from the Welsh Government to 1,728 businesses, it has developed a new shop local campaign in partnership with Monmouthshire’s trade groups and town and community councils. Also, a volunteer ambassador programme is in the pipeline to provide a warm and friendly welcome for visitors to the county’s town centres. Ambassadors will share their local knowledge and advise on COVID-19 specific restrictions or adaptations in place.
Despite incredibly difficult times for tourism and hospitality businesses globally, an increasing number of Monmouthshire’s enterprises have displayed resilience to play a significant part in supporting communities during lockdown. The Angel Hotel group (which includes Abergavenny’s Angel Hotel, the Art Shop & Chapel and The Walnut Tree restaurant) joined an initiative to help raise £100,000 to provide quality food to front line NHS staff and during the pandemic’s peak 120 meals were supplied every evening to the nearby Nevill Hall Hospital. Monmouth confectioner Granny Browns and Chepstow restaurant Panevino also donated sweets and chocolates and delivered food to frontline NHS staff.
Meanwhile, the Wye Valley’s Silver Circle Distillery and the Budweiser Brewing Group in Magor diversified their operations to produce much-needed hand sanitiser for local hospitals and care homes to address a nationwide shortage. And in the north of the county, Road House Narrowboats of Gilwern offered its shop entrance as a collection point for food items donated by the local community. These were transported each week to Abergavenny’s food bank. In addition, many businesses have adapted their procedures to offer local delivery and click and collect services.
County Councillor Paul Jordan, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for tourism said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and February’s severe floods have hit the county’s tourism and hospitality businesses severely so we very much look forward to welcoming visitors back to Monmouthshire when travel restrictions are lifted. We hope they will make the most of our attractions and activities and enjoy their time spent in this beautiful corner of Wales. We ask however that they observe any remaining restrictions relating to the current pandemic and behave responsibly, respecting our communities.”
The council is encouraging the county’s tourism businesses to obtain the new Visit Wales ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard to demonstrate to visitors and residents that they adhere to the respective government and public health guidance, that they’ve carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and that they have the required processes in place. Visitors should look out for the We’re Good to Go kite mark when planning their visit. For details of We’re Good to Go businesses and for up to date pre-arrival information log on to: www.VisitMonmouthshire.com