COVID-19 Supporting our Tourism Industry

This page outlines our latest projects and activities as well as the latest advice and information from partners such as VisitBritain and Tourism Alliance.

We would like to hear from you so that we can feedback to VisitBritain and government regarding what is happening in our region. Please email to let us know how COVID-19 is affecting your business.

Where can I find the latest on lockdown and restrictions?

The government has published the Covid-19 Response: Summer 2021 guidance setting out step 4 of the roadmap.

This page is regularly updated to highlight what you can and cannot do under Covid restrictions.

Where can I find national and international tourism and travel sector information and advice?

VisitBritain has a dedicated news and updates page for all those working in the sector.

VisitEngland’s Business Advice Hub features a dedicated section containing the support available to tourism businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, from funding to guidance on mental health.

UK Hospitality’s FAQs are a useful resource for answering questions about the latest guidance.

I’m looking to reopen my business, what’s the latest advice on that?

The government has produced guidance on reopening specifically for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector:

Following the publication of this guidance, UKHospitality published guidelines for hospitality businesses.

Organisations representing professional tourist guides have issued COVID-19 Guidance for Tour Guiding, to ensure guides can work safely and members of the public can book and go on tours with confidence.

The government has also published guidance for food businesses which includes a section on the management of outbreaks including collecting and providing contact details for health protection teams.

The government has collated guidance for businesses involved in managing beach, coastal and countryside areas.

I’ve heard that there is a tourism industry standard to reassure visitors that tourism businesses are reopening with COVID-19 measures in place. Could you tell me about that?

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the sector.

To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online.

Those with the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard are now automatically eligible for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

Newcastle City Council has launched the Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme to reassure the public that establishments across the city have in place all reasonable measures and controls to safeguard visitors and staff.

How do I apply for the temporary reduced rate of VAT?

Guidance is now available, following the government’s announcement that VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions.

Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption.

I want to take on more staff, is there any funding available to do this?

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.

Terms and conditions for the scheme.

Tips for making a successful Kickstart application.

What do I need to do to support NHS Track and Trace?

The following businesses providing an on-site service are required to collect and maintain data of staff, customers and visitors:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars and restaurants (it does not apply to businesses operating a takeaway/delivery only basis).
  • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks.
  • Facilities provided by local authorities including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres.
  • Places of worship including use for events and other community activities.

These businesses also need to display the official NHS QR code posters to make it easier for people to check-in at different premises. If individuals choose to check-in using the QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route

Quick link: Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue

This is a requirement by law.

Guidance on collection and maintenance of data from Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The ICO has also published a statement and a short data protection checklist for protecting customer data:

  • Ask for only what’s needed.
  • Be transparent with customers and what the information is being used for.
  • Store the data carefully.
  • Don’t use it for other purposes.
  • Erase the data in line with the government guidelines.

What’s the advice on identifying and responding to a local coronavirus outbreak?

Government have produced a series of action cards with instructions for businesses in the event of one or more confirmed coronavirus cases within the organisation. These can be accessed for all sectors here. These are sector specific and include:

Most of my the staff in my organisation are furloughed, how can I help them use this time to learn skills that will benefit my business when we reopen?

NGI has been coordinating a project with Gateshead College and Newcastle College, who have pulled together a set of tourism online training resources which anyone can access, completely free. There is a wide variety of courses on offer, from infection control and mental health awareness to digital marketing and IT.

How can I access the latest thinking around the current challenges faced by the tourism industry in the North East?

VisitBritain have commissioned a weekly tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the U.K. and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time. Latest reports from the survey are published on VisitBritain’s website.

The 5th wave of the National Travel Attitudes Study has been published.

VisitEngland’s business recovery webinars will give you practical insights, tips and guidance to set you on the road to recovery.

How can I promote our virtual / alternative offer to potential visitors?

At NGI, we are working hard to keep all of our information up to date on our leisure tourism website, and we are grateful to you all for notifying us of changes, cancellations and new ways of operating when reopening.

However, we are also very keen to hear about any new, alternative or remote activities that your organisation might be offering. Please email our Digital Content Manager, Hannah Lambert with any information and we will do our best to promote it as part of our day-to-day communications activity.

Where can I find out about consumer sentiment and concerns regarding reopening?

BVA-BDRC weekly research briefings are useful resources for consumer sentiment and potential barriers to visiting once the tourism industry reopens.

BVA-BDRC weekly briefings are available from their website.

Is there any help or guidance for the heritage sector?

The government have a dedicated guidance page for heritage locations.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has a page dedicated to supporting heritage organisations through the pandemic.

The Heritage Alliance launched the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Rebuilding Heritage’ support programme. This free programme offers mentoring, advice, and training to help individuals and organisations respond to the challenges that have arisen as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

Guidance and templates:


Check out our COVID-19 Business Resources page for the most useful COVID-19 resources we’ve seen (webinars, blogs, guides etc), alongside our own content which is designed to help our partner organisations and other businesses across North East England.


Supporting businesses:

Check out our COVID-19 Supporting Businesses page for a summary of initiatives being established to help support businesses and employers who are affected by COVID-19.