Experience Oxfordshire, the Destination Management Organistion (DMO) for Oxfordshire, yesterday (25 June) made a call to action to businesses and stakeholders to work together so that Oxfordshire can be recognised as one of the safest destinations to visit in England post COVID-19.
The call for action follows the announcement earlier this week that much of the tourism and hospitality sector will be able to open (subject to conditions) from 4 July.
In addition to this week's launch of the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard self-assessment and supporting mark and the ‘Know Before You Go’ public information campaign from national agency VisitEngland.
The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment, and have checked that they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry.
Businesses across the UK are assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place. In England businesses align with the UK Government’s official guidance for the sector including ‘Working Safely during COVID-19: Visitor Economy’.
An ‘alert’ system ensures that businesses signed up to the standard are notified of any changes to the official guidance going forward. A call-handling service provides support and assessors will also carry-out random spot-checks to ensure adherence.
Experience Oxfordshire have been providing extensive business support and advice to visitor economy businesses across Oxfordshire during the pandemic and have been lobbying for clear guidance and safety standards from national government to enable businesses to reopen safely and as soon as practically possible.
Following the announcements this week Experience Oxfordshire have taken swift leadership on disseminating information to their partners and stakeholders and have requested support from local authorities to ensure the city and county roll out the scheme to the majority of visitor economy businesses across Oxfordshire, who will need to work through the self-assessment to receive the supporting mark.
Speaking on the new scheme, Chief Executive of Experience Oxfordshire, Hayley Beer-Gamage said: “We are delighted that the sector finally has some guidance on how and when they are able to open. It will still be a challenge for many businesses, and we will do all we can to support them and lobby for further support.
"In order for Oxfordshire to reopen again safely and instil consumer confidence it is important that we get as many businesses as possible accredited with the supporting mark ‘We’re Good to Go’. We have a great destination to visit and want to welcome back locals and visitors in an environment they feel safe and comfortable in.
"As a globally recognised destination we should be aspiring to the be recognised as one of the safest destinations to visit in England post Covid-19. We hope businesses and local authorities will work with us, and support us where necessary, to achieve this ambition which is important for the recovery of the visitor economy.”