Media

NITA | November Overview

Posted 30 Nov, 2021

November started well with the simplification of testing for international visitors and the removal of the RED list. There was more positivity with Christmas round the corner and more gala dinner invitations popping into our inboxes!

But what a difference a few weeks make. The industry once again faces more challenges and uncertainty. Entering what should be a busy festive period we have seen increased restrictions due to the new variant, Omicron, there is confusion, lack of clarity and public push back on the implementation of the mandatory Covid Status Certification and Red list countries and International Travel restrictions have returned.

However, our industry is resilient, and we will continue to work with you to navigate the way through these uncertain times and ensure that the voice of the industry is heard as we engage with our politicians and government officials.

Below is a roundup of some of the key updates and developments we are currently working on.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL UPDATE
There have been a number of changes to international travel regulations with the identification of a new strain of the virus which has been named Omicron. NI will be following the UK approach. Here are the main points:

  • the Day 2 PCR testing and self-isolation requirement for all arrivals into the UK came into effect on Tuesday 30 November with lateral flow tests no longer be accepted and all travellers arriving into UK are now required to book and take COVID-19 PCR tests.

NOTE: The requirements for the Day 2 PCT test do not apply to travel within the Common Travel Area.

  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must now self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • More countries have been added to Red List with the full list being Malawi, Mozambique, Angola and Zambia South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini. This means that people cannot travel to NI if they have been in these countries within the previous 10 days unless they:
  • are a British or Irish national
  • have residence rights in the UK

Even if they are fully vaccinated, people who have been in a red list country within the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day you arrive in UK is day 0)
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining – these are included in your hotel package

COVID STATUS CERTIFICATION

The NI Executive mandatory Covid Status Certification is now in place as of the 29th November with a 14-day grace period before it will be legally enforced.

This was another situation where new policy was announced without any details on how it will be implemented. NITA, along with other business organisations have been engaging with the Covid Task Force to seek clarification and making the case for changes to planned regulations. Initially all hospitality was to be included, but due to the feedback from industry, this has been reduced to licenced hospitality, many events and certain venues.

We continue to make the case to reduce the burden on businesses, particularly in mixed use venues and activities.

NOTE: There are GDPR issues and the DoH have provided the wording required within your privacy notice to ensure you are complying with GDPR.

  • Download Privacy notice template here
  • Download Covid Status Certificate App Guidance here

Supporting Evidence - Those persons attending relevant events/premises are able to provide the following evidence of their Covid status:

1) Paper or digital vaccination certificate showing the person have completed a course of doses of an authorised vaccine

a. Evidence can be provided via the Covid Certification App

b. Vaccination card, showing dates of vaccination doses, with photographic ID

c. EU/GB digital certificates are able to be validated through the CovidChecker App.

2) Certification by text or email through the NHS Covid-19 reporting app of a negative lateral flow test (LFT) within 48 hours of attending event/premises

3) Valid notification of a positive PCR test taken no earlier than 30 days and no later than 180 days of attending event/premises

a. Note that w/c 6th December the Department of Health an app will be available to read the QR code to check the test is with the date range

4) Confirmation in writing of those having participated (current/present) in a relevant clinical trial from the organiser of the trial

a. Letters have been issued to those people who have participated in a relevant clinical trial with the details to get a letter. There will be a digital option provided and information on this will be issued to those relevant people.

5) Medical exemption evidence

a. The process for people to apply for medical exemption certificate will be available from 6th December.

    NITA MEMBERS FORUM EVENT

    We were delighted to hold our Members Forum event at the Grand Opera House on 10th November. The Minister for the Economy gave the keynote and answered a number of questions, including updates on the following issues that we have been engaging on and will continue to do so;

    Holiday at Home and Experience Scheme – The process to have this approved by the Executive are ongoing. The Economy Minister has put forward a ministerial directive for the scheme to go ahead which needs to be agreed by the Minister of Finance. A decision is expected by December.

    Exemption for International Visitors – This exemption is for tour operators to enable travel to Northern Ireland, as part of an all-Island tour, to be exempted from day 2 tests and completion of UK passenger locator forms. The Minister for the Economy has supported this and it is currently awaiting a decision from Minister for Health. There has been no movement on this by the Minister of Health and given recent developments, we will need to see how the Omicron variant develops and reassess the position in a couple of weeks.

      TOURISM IRELAND & TOURISM NORTHERN IRELAND MARKETING CAMPAIGN

      Tourism Ireland has announced their upcoming virtual event to share their Marketing Plans for 2022, on Monday 20th December at 11am. At present, the link has not been released but keep an eye on our social media platforms and we will advise when you can sign up.

      Tourism Northern Ireland have provided an update on their GB Marketing campaign which can be viewed here.


      RECENT WEBINARS

      I was delighted to be asked to join the panel discussion at the Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism in Action event. The live online event provided an update from TNI on the progress against the Tourism Recovery Action Plan, six months after the launch. You can watch the webinar here.

      Mid Ulster Council hosted a series of webinars as part of Enterprise Week. Speaking at the Tourism and Hospitality ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ event covering tops of skills, recruitment, sustainability and

      You can watch the webinar here.

      INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES

      Winter Content call out to Northern Ireland Tourism Industry

      Christmas or Winter themed story to tell? Then share it with TNI to engage and entertain audiences across our digital and PR channels in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. You’ll be helping to inspire some winter short breaks, as well as having the opportunity to profile your tourism business on our channels.

      More information here

      WEBINAR | Marketing on a Shoestring

      7th December 2022, 10am - 12.30pm

      This workshop is for business owner/managers and employees whose businesses are:

      • Based in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Area.
      • Employing fewer than 50 full time equivalent staff members.

      More details and to sign up click here


      WEBINAR | ROI Review

      9th December 2022, 10am

      Hear from an independent steering group of senior industry leaders giving an in-depth overview of the ROI Strategy.

      More details and to sign up click here


      WEBINAR | Engaging and Networking on Twitter

      11th January 2022, 10am - 12pm

      Dan McCarry provides an insight into Twitter marketing and networking for CCAG tourism businesses.

      More details and to sign up click here

      WEBINAR | An Introduction to doing business outside NI

      18th January 2022, 10am - 12.30pm

      This workshop is for business owner/managers and employees whose businesses are:

      • Based in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Area.
      • Employing fewer than 50 full time equivalent staff members.

      More details and to sign up click here

      WEBINAR | TikTok for Tourism Businesses - Reaching a New Generation

      25th January 2022, 10am - 12pm

      Fran Morelli introduces the world of TikTok marketing for Causeway Coast and Glens tourism businesses.

      More details and to sign up click here

      Economic Recovery Innovation Grant

      Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) has launched the Economic Recovery Innovation Grant (ERIG) to support small and medium-sized businesses to develop and implement innovative projects.

      ERIG will provide up to £5,000 to help businesses develop new, or improve existing products, services or processes through innovation.

      ERIG is open to any business that can demonstrate it meets all the eligibility criteria outlined in here.

      The grant will support eligible costs, including testing and developing new products or processes; equipment; skills development; marketing; consultancy.

      Applications close at 5pm on Monday 31st January 2022.

      For more information, click here.