As we enter a new year, we hope that this year will be more stable than 2020 and 2021. Although we continue to face uncertainty and unease, there is light at the end of the tunnel as we reach the peak of the impact of Omicron variant.
Towards the end of 2021 we began to see some return to reality, but then faced a further set back due to the effects of the new variant. The industry have had to react and make difficult decisions in order to stay in business. We assure you that we are continuing to raise the issues and challenges the industry are facing.
In terms of NITA updates, we are looking at the year ahead and the return of NITA member events. We will update you on this in our next newsletter. As a member, your feedback is valued so please do let us know if there are any events you would like to see in the upcoming months.
Below is a roundup of some of the key updates and developments helping to move things forward for the industry.
SURVEY |OMICRON VARIANT
Together with our UK counterparts we are asking that you take part in this UK wide national survey to help NITA share evidence from Northern Ireland to our colleagues in the Departments for the Economy and Finance and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The primary purpose of this survey is to build robust evidence on the impacts that the Omicron variant is having on businesses in all sectors of the Tourism economy pan UK.
Please be assured that all information provided is completely anonymous.
We appreciate this is a busy time for you, so are very grateful for you taking the time to complete this survey – something that should only take 5 minutes.
Closing date for the survey has been extended to 21st January.
Link to Survey here
SUPPORT PACKAGES | OMICRON VARIANT
The Financial support package of £40m announced by the Finance Minister before the Christmas break and approved by the NI Executive must be extended to include tourism businesses including accommodation, attractions, coach businesses and tour operators.
As an industry we welcomed the additional £6.5M allocated to home and overseas marketing campaigns for the remainder of the financial year, due to the cancellation of the Holiday@Home and Experience scheme. However, we are running out of time for this money to be spent and it is unlikely that this will generate much needed business between now and March.
We are working on providing evidence for the support package to be extended to cover those sectors within tourism that have been significantly impacted by the acceleration of the omicron variant on business and the introduction of tighter regulations. We will continue to update members with any progress on this in our email updates.
UPDATE | TESTING AND SELF-ISOLATION
The NI Executive update on 5th January reflected changes to testing and self-isolation requirements.
With the unprecedented surge in Omicron, and subsequent demand for testing, capacity for PCR testing, the Department of Health advised the public that in the context of very high Covid levels a positive lateral flow test is an accurate predictor of Covid infection, and a confirmatory PCR test is not required at this time. Anyone who receives a positive lateral flow result must self-isolate immediately.
The current isolation period lasts seven days, with a negative lateral flow test needed on day six or seven. If a positive result still appears, then people should continue to isolate until they get two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart, or they have completed 10 full days of isolation, whichever is earlier.
The latest travel requirements can be viewed here.
HOSPITALITY & TOURISM SKILLS (HATS) NETWORK
The Careers Occupational Unit in the Department for the Economy has published the Hospitality and Tourism careers bulletin on their website and can be viewed here.
The document will be shared with Careers Advisers, Schools etc to profile the opportunities and career paths on offer. With industry input, sharing career profiles and articles, we hope this will help attract people to a career in the industry to help overcome the skills shortage the industry is faced with.
TOURISM 360° | WINTER EDITION
The global economic recovery remains strong, aided by government and central bank support and vaccination progress. However, renewed virus outbreaks and emergence of new variants are limiting the ability of some countries to reopen fully and putting pressure on supply chains.
Looking at how sectors may recover in 2021 and 2022, Danske Bank predicts the accommodation & food services and arts, entertainment & recreation sectors, which were among the hardest hit by COVID restrictions, will see the fastest rates of output growth as they rebound from the pandemic’s impacts highlights tourism insights, trends and performance locally and globally.
Available to view here