Financial Support

The attached link provides the breakdown of financial business support that organisations can access as result of the Budget here. In summary:

  • Statutory sick pay (at least £94.25 a week) must be provided for anyone who chooses to self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms.
  • Statutory sick pay provided from day one, rather than after four days.
  • The government will refund up to two weeks of statutory sick pay for all firms with fewer than 250 employees.
  • Small businesses can get ‘business interruption loans’ of up to £1.2m to help deal with disruption.
  • Business rates will be abolished (for this year alone) for commercial properties with a rateable value of under £51,000. After this year they are likely to return to normal, but with a 50 per cent discount for small businesses.
  • Pubs will get an increased business rates discount, rising from £1,000 to £5,000
  • A £3,000 grant for all small businesses that can currently claim small business rates relief.

We await further details on how business will be able to access these support funds.  TSE continues to lobby the Government, through the national agencies, communicating our members feedback and frustrations. UKInbound have been very vocal to the Government on the  lack of detail and speed of the measures that were announced in the budget and are committed to keep up the pressure on the industries behalf.

In addition, e-voyages have launched a petition which you can access here calling for the Government to provide immediate financial support to the tourism industry.  Emmanuelle Spriet CEO of e-voyages is behind the petition (although her Procurement and Operations Director Rupert is named in the petition itself).  In setting up the petition she says:

Immediate tangible financial support is required for many businesses and their staff in the Tourism Industry that are struggling with cash flow now, as a direct result of the virus. There is a swift requirement of cash injections into the industry to keep businesses alive and staff employed.  Tourism employs over 3 million people in this country, 10% of the total workforce and over £130 Billion of GDP. Tourism’s impact on the economy is estimated by Deloitte’s as having a GVA (Gross value added) multiplier to be 2.8 – meaning that for every £1,000 generated in direct tourism, there is a further £1,800 that is supported elsewhere in the economy through the supply chain and consumer spending. It is imperative that the government directly supports this sector with immediate action.

Situation update: correct as of 16.00 16 March 2020 (with thanks to UKinbound)

  • Please find attached travel advisory information affecting inbound travel into the UK correct as of 16.00 16 March 2020. 
  • As of 9am on 16 March 2020, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,544 were confirmed as positive. There have been 55 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK. 
  • As of 16 March, 97 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of lab confirmed cases in England to 1,196. The total for the UK now stands at 1,544, which includes 172 in Scotland, 124 cases in Wales, and 52 in Northern Ireland.
  • As of 16 March globally there has been 165,395 cases, China 80,860, Italy 24,747, Republic of Korea 8,236, Iran 13,983, France 5,423, Germany 4,838, Spain 7,753, Japan 809, USA 1,678, UK 1,544, Switzerland  and Liechtenstein 1,563, Netherlands 1,135, with 6,502 fatalities
  • A total of 3,289 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 45 countries. 
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases
  • On 15 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that there would be a daily televised press conference by either the PM or a senior minister. 
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Spain.
  • The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to the USA
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice is constantly under review, so that it reflects the latest assessment of risks to UK nationals. In response to coronavirus measures the FCO is advising against all and all but essential travel to some countries, cities and regions. The FCO are keeping their website up to date and travellers are advised to check the latest travel advice for the particular country they are planning to visit. Advice might change several times a day giving this is a fast-moving situation. 
  • The guidance for COVID-19: specified countries and areas with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK in the last 14 days was withdrawn on 13 March 2020. This content has been superseded by information in COVID-19: stay at home guidance.
  • New guidance have been produced industry guidance (education, prisons, shipping, transport hubs, hostels):


COBR update – 16 March 

The Prime Minister and Chief Medical and Scientific Officers have held a further press conference to outline the UK strategy and the outcome of this afternoon’s COBR meeting. It has been announced that these press conferences will be taking place daily. 

The Prime Minister advised that the UK should start implementing social distancing to delay transmission, key take outs from the press conference include: 

  • If you or anyone in your household has symptoms you should isolate for 14 days. 
    • Those with symptoms – should not leave the house to go shopping, but you can leave the house to exercise as long as you do not have social interaction.
  • All should now stop non-essential contact with others and non-essential travel, start working from home and avoid social venues.
  • Avoiding non-essential travel and interaction is particularly important for pregnant women, over 70s, and those with health conditions. 
  • By this weekend, it will be required to shield those most at risk for around 12 weeks.
  • The pressure on London needs to be relieved in particular –  all should work from home where possible and avoid unnecessary social contact.
  • There has been advice extended to moving away from mass gatherings, in order to alleviate pressure on emergency workers.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

It is being reported in the media that a number of airlines are planning to cut flights significantly. Advice for consumers from some of the major airlines is below:

  • British Airways – Has announced that, as it is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes, to not call or message unless customers are travelling in the next 72 hours so they can help those needing urgent rebooking. Customers with questions relating to COVID-19 are asked to check itsFAQs or to find out more about its flexible booking options by visiting its book with confidence section. Customers are also advised to check the Foreign Office website for the latest travel restrictions before flying.
  • Virgin Atlantic  Has also asked customers that, due to extremely high volume of customers needing assistance, it is asking that unless customers are travelling in the next 72 hours they refrain from contacting them, to prioritise customers who are travelling imminently. It has also introduced a flexible no change fees policy.
  • easyJet travel advice – It also advising customers that it is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes. To reduce waiting times, it has asked customers to contact them within 48 hours of their departure date. Its terms and conditions policy is available here also has a dedicated section on its website re: its policies for certain destinations affected by flight disruption regarding COVID-19.Please also check its flight tracker for specific updates about your flight. Also, easyJet customers who wish to change their travel plans can now transfer their flights to alternative dates and/or an alternative destination without a change fee.
  • RyanAir  has announced that it will waive the flight change fee (for all new and existing bookings from 13th March until 31st March) for customers who wish to change their travel plans due to COVID-19. Information about any flight changes due to COVID-19 is available here. It has also announced that it is reducing flights to/from Spain from Monday 16 March to Thursday 19 March. All affected customers will receive an email notification informing them of their options. Also, all Ryanair Group flights to and from Poland are cancelled from Sunday 15 March to Tuesday 31 March. Affected customers will receive an email notification informing them of their options
  • Norwegian has also asked that if customers are not booked to travel in the next three days then to please contact them at a later date due to the high volumes of enquiries with wait times for assistance long. It has also issued a message for passengers departing Schengen airports – with web and self-service check-in for all passengers departing Schengen airports not available for the foreseeable future. Please see its website for more information.
  • Tui Group has announced that it has suspended the majority of its travel operations until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tourism South East continues to be the voice for the region, your business feedback on the current market is vital to maintain a rounded picture, allowing us to feedback at a national level.  Please do keep us informed.