The impact of coronavirus on tourism businesses across the UK and the Fylde Coast has undoubtably been catastrophic, with most now drawing up reset plans for post-lockdown.
While we are starting in a new phase of easing of lockdown, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are still asking visitors to stay away for the time being.
But we all look forward to a time in the near future, when visitors can once again come safely and experience the warm welcome and make amazing memories on the beautiful Fylde Coast.
The picturesque coastlines and rural areas provides plenty of open spaces, where social distancing will be easier to maintain and allow visitors to be socially responsible.
And, with the prospect of more people opting to stay in the UK for the foreseeable, holidaying in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde, is a must when the doors are open again.
And thanks to the work Access Fylde Coast has been doing, more businesses will be able to offer a warm welcome to people with both hidden and visible disabilities as more than 500 businesses have had access guides and more than 160 have taken up disability awareness training to better understand how their business can best help disabled customers.
This week is English Tourism Week, which is highlighting the economic importance and value of tourism to local economies across England – and the annual event is going virtual.
As part of Visit England’s English Tourism Week 2020, we are launching the last in our video series, which follows people with a range of differing visible and non-visible disabilities on their stays and visits to the Fylde Coast.
From how businesses across the district are helping to provide a positive experience to people with autism to small changes which make a big difference to people with physical disabilities, visitors ( who were all filmed before lockdown) share their views with Invictus Games hero and amputee Mike Goody.
The final video in the series follows Undateables star Becky Dann during her stay, in which she also took in Blackpool Tower and an Access Fylde Coast funded accessible performance by the world-renowned Paraorchestra.
The video of Becky and the others in our 6-part mini documentary on disability and access can be viewed here
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes says: “While we cannot run events as usual this year, the spirit of the week has never been more important. Tourism has been one of the first and hardest hit economic sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this year’s virtual week is dedicated to showing support for the industry, the millions of people who work in it and the hundreds of thousands of businesses impacted.
“It is also about looking towards the future recovery and doing everything we can right now to ensure that tourism can bounce back to once again become one of the most successful and vibrant sectors of the economy.”
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston says: “I hope everyone will use English Tourism Week as an opportunity to celebrate the sector, and we’ll be encouraging people to book a great British holiday as soon as it is safe to do.”
And, as part of English Tourism Week, Marketing Lancashire has launched its “See You Soon, Safely” campaign, focusing on the significance of tourism to the local economy,
Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, says: “Most of our tourism businesses have temporarily closed or sought to diversify during the lockdown, but are now looking at ways to enable the safe return of visitors, in order to rescue what remains of the traditional holiday season.”
Alan Reid, CEO of Disability First, which has spearheaded the Coastal Community Funded Access Fylde Coast project, says: “ It has been a challenging time for businesses and many are finding new ways to adapt. We hope that we can help them through our free access guides and disability awareness training to help them in their recovery plans to tap into the £249 bn Purple Pound – the spending power of disabled people and their families.
“As our latest video series highlights, the Fylde Coast is making waves in terms of businesses making small changes which make a big difference and help them to attract and retain customers who have disabilities. And, during this challenging time for many businesses, we hope that the free help we can offer will help them will enhance their recovery.”
Businesses can get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org