Since the outbreak of COVID-19, NGI has worked with local authority partners and those within the tourism industry on a three-phase plan to: respond to the initial crisis, reopen safely and reimagine the future.
RESPOND – phase one included:
- Signposting 500 tourism businesses to support packages and loans available.
- Creating a weekly tourism industry group to provide insights into how covid-19 was affecting the region’s tourism economy.
- Lobbying nationally on behalf of the region’s tourism industry.
- Utilising historic data and real-time qualitative feedback to support scenario planning.
- Continuing to champion and celebrate our tourism industry, for example with our virtual ceremony for the North East England Tourism Awards 2020.
- Working with HEIs to provide relevant training opportunities for a largely furloughed tourism industry workforce.
REOPEN – we’re now at a key point in the second phase which includes:
- Creating an online hub for tourism businesses to support their reopening – including checklists and information relating to VisitBritain’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard.
- A series of webinars on everything from public health to innovation and online bookability, to support tourism businesses with reopening.
- Partnering with Business & IP Centre Newcastle to offer tailored support to tourism SMEs through the Citylife Business Support project.
- Relaunching a redesigned visitor information and inspiration website with up-to-date information on when and how to visit tourism businesses safely and personalisation tools such as an experience finder and itinerary builder.
- Partnering with The Locale app to help residents and visitors navigate their way around NewcastleGateshead, and find offers and real-time information on how busy venues are as they move around the city centre.
- A regular email for residents and local businesses containing all the latest information on reopening to provide reassurance on measures being put in place and advice on how to visit safely.
- Development of a consumer-facing advocacy and pride campaign encouraging locals to visit and share their experiences of our attractions once reopened – via reviews, photographs and videos on social media – to attract and give confidence to out-of-region visitors planning a trip later this year.
REIMAGINE – looking ahead to the recovery and reimagine stage, NGI will be:
- Working with tourism digital marketplace TXGB to enhance and promote online bookable experiences for visitors so they can plan and book their whole trip on NewcastleGateshead.com – from accommodation to tours, events and restaurants.
- Restarting our digital and PR activity aimed at growing overnight stays in NewcastleGateshead and encouraging longer breaks by highlighting the proximity of NewcastleGateshead to the region’s beautiful coast and countryside.
- Looking for funding opportunities and new ways of working to expand this activity and further increase awareness nationally and internationally of the quality and range of attractions in NewcastleGateshead North East England.
- Working in partnership with carriers and major events to grow tourism for the area, including Newcastle International Airport, Port of Tyne, our rail companies and Rugby League World Cup 2021.
- Working with Newcastle University and Northumbria University to enhance the student experience of NewcastleGateshead and welcome their families when they visit.
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