We welcome the September 24th COVID-19 support plan announcements by the Chancellor, as the measures will go a long way in providing a safety net that will hopefully see many tourism businesses survive the next six months, and hopefully safeguard many jobs that would otherwise be lost.

For business owners, difficult decisions have to be made, but the new Job Support Scheme from November with flexible employee support is a move in the right direction, as the country faces six further months under restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. The positive knock-on effects of this, in terms of job reassurance, mental health and well-being, as well as encouraging continued spend into the local and domestic economies will bring short and long-term rewards.

With international travel corridors restricted or opening precariously, the uncertainty around inbound visitors means the focus for the next six months must be on the domestic staycation. VisitBritain's Escape the Everyday campaign over autumn and winter months will support and promote that message. Welcome to Yorkshire will continue to promote the great outdoors, as well as our many visitor attractions, towns and cities that offer safe, indoor and covered spaces that adhere to current guidelines. As with Spring and Summer, Autumn and Winter in Yorkshire offers any visitor the best of what the UK has to offer, from bracing walks and a host of other outdoor pursuits, as well as seasonal produce and offerings which attract visitors for day trips, long weekends and short breaks.

Welcome to Yorkshire will host a series of webinars for members to stay in touch, but also for us to gather insight into the challenges and opportunities tourism businesses are facing which we can share with government decision makers.

Extending the VAT cut for hospitality to 5% until 31 March 2021 will assist businesses to preserve cash flow through the winter, and consumers shouldn't become too angered if they don't see this reduction reflected in the price of accommodation and dining. Tourism businesses are hurting, as are all industries, and this is a much needed pillar of support to generate income.

Longer-term, with a view to attracting the international traveller to the UK, and in our case specifically to Yorkshire, it's imperative that we work collectively to bring the spread of the virus under control and show the world that we are a COVID-secure environment, in which they can feel safe and reassured. Instilling confidence in the domestic and international visitor is crucial and as long as we all work together, this challenge can and will be overcome. Our ‘Yorkshire Together’ attitude has never been so important.