Pembrokeshire’s tourism and hospitality businesses have highlighted the enormous impact of Covid-19 is having on their sector and voiced growing concern over the long term negative impact of some of the ‘Stay Away’ messaging.
Using video conferencing, local MP Stephen Crabb assembled a cross section of 22 key tourism and hospitality businesses, along with local Senedd Member Paul Davies and representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Park, to discuss the outlook for businesses which depend on large numbers of visitors coming to the area.
The conference call was organised by the Preseli MP as a way for a range of the County’s tourism, hospitality and adventure businesses to meet together whilst adhering to the government guidance. It gave businesses the opportunity to speak directly to their MP and MS, raising their experiences, concerns and what they need from all levels of government to ensure their long-term security.
Following the meeting, Stephen Crabb said:
“The tourism and hospitality sector is a key part of the Pembrokeshire economy and one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. It was important to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing. There is strong support from business for the lockdown measures at this time, but also a growing concern about the tone of the ‘Stay Away’ message on some social media. They want to see a big push to get visitors back when it is safe to do so. I am pleased that the Council and National Park are already thinking about a really strong and positive marketing campaign for Pembrokeshire. We will have a lot of ground to make up and I hope that circumstances will allow for at least some tourism activity later on in the season.”
“What all the businesses were asking for was clarity. They also wanted to ensure that the messaging and language used around tourist returning to Pembrokeshire was positive and that the wider community were aware of how beneficial tourism and hospitality is to Pembrokeshire’s economy. I have already had positive feedback from those taking part and I look forward to hosting another forum in the near future as the situation changes and new challenges and opportunities arise.”
Paul Davies MS added Paul Davies MS said, “Hearing first-hand the pressures and challenges faced by tourist operators and businesses in Pembrokeshire was invaluable for me to able to make the right representations to the Welsh Government. It’s no secret that the tourism industry has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and that’s why it’s crucial that the right support is in place to help those businesses affected.”
He added, “The Welsh Government must come forward with a detailed strategy for the sector that will protect it through the current pandemic and ensure its sustainability for the future. Neglecting the needs of the tourism industry is simply not an option and so I will be calling on the Welsh Government to come forward with some concrete proposals to protect the sector in the short term and support it further in the longer term.”