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Swansea tourism businesses rally to support city through pandemic

Three Cliffs Coffee Shop.

A range of Swansea enterprises have been praised for adapting and diversifying to support key workers and others.

Important new functions have included hosting key workers, providing meals for frontline staff, providing essential items across the city, new uses of premises and the creation of new products.

Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Our tourism team is working closely with local tourism operators to support them at this incredibly difficult time.

“Our staff have been hugely impressed by what they’ve experienced; it’s been really encouraging to see businesses react quickly to the crisis and adapt to play a key role in the fight against coronavirus.

“Like many other businesses, many tourism operators have shown themselves to be here for Swansea.

“The spirit and resilience of the area’s hospitality industry will hopefully stand it in good stead for the future. Along with the operators, our tourism team is looking forward to welcoming visitors to the area as soon as it is safe to do so.”

A number of businesses and organisations that have led the way – operating in line with Government guidelines – are tourism marketing partners with the council, regularly helping to promote the area to visitors.

Hotels include The Dragon, Mercure and Morgans whilst other private sector businesses include Nomad Bar and Kitchen, Three Cliffs Coffee Shop and Swansea University.

The Dragon Hotel and staff there stay safe in the venue’s foyer.

The Dragon Hotel, part of the Nine Group of hotels, is hosting NHS key workers.

General manager Vishal Chib said: “The Dragon Hotel is proud to be supporting the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic. The hotel has remained open for essential workers and has implemented new guidelines to ensure the safety of guests and staff. We’re looking forward to welcoming back all guests to the hotel as soon as restrictions are lifted.”

The Mercure Swansea Hotel is hosting NHS key workers.

Hotel general manager Ian Harding-Jones said: “After closing the hotel, we were asked to accommodate 65 NHS workers who were working on Covid wards and didn’t feel comfortable going home. We turned it round swiftly, with a whole new safe way of working and reassurances to furloughed staff that it was safe to come back to work. It’s been a privilege to do our bit. Seeing our NHS guests go off into a dangerous environment every day has been inspirational.”

Morgans Hotel and its head chef Christopher Law.

Morgans Hotel joined the Feed the NHS Wales campaign to provide frontline staff with healthy meals to keep them going through hospital shifts.

Head chef Christopher Law said: “During these unprecedented times, I was proud to support Feed the NHS by preparing over 1,500 meals for the NHS on behalf of Morgans Hotel. As part of our appreciation, it was important as a team to provide whatever help we could to support all those working incredibly hard within our local hospitals. It was a privilege to be part of this special cause and to say a big thank you to the NHS.”

Gowerton RFC members make a food delivery in partnership with the Nomad Bar and Kitchen.

Gowerton’s Nomad Bar and Kitchen is serving take away meals to the community, is a local pick-up point for local fresh produce from FarmCo Swansea and provides Sunday lunches to the elderly and vulnerable in Gowerton in partnership with local producers, suppliers and Gowerton RFC.

Nomad general manager Filippo Ricci said: “Nomad wanted to show its appreciation to a community that has supported us so well since opening. We’re providing a Sunday lunch to the elderly and vulnerable in Gowerton. We plan to make sure the more vulnerable members of the village don’t feel forgotten. With the help of food businesses, public donations, Gowerton RFC and others, the project has been well received and we hope to continue for as long as possible.”

The Three Cliffs Coffee Shop, in Southgate, Gower, has supported its local community with essential items, fresh food, deliveries, orders from local suppliers and specialities such as afternoon tea boxes.

The company’s Jamie Francis said: “Back in February one brave lady asked if we could help. Four months later we deliver to about 50 households who need help and many others who want to support us. We have protected our community and offer support to those who need it. Many jobs have been protected – it’s such a community effort thanks to customers, staff and suppliers.”

Staff at Ty’r Felin Surgery, Gorseinon, receiving Swansea University hand sanitiser.

Swansea University which, under normal circumstances would be offering group accommodation to visitors at its Singleton Campus over the summer period, is supporting the community by producing hand sanitiser for care homes and frontline housing teams.

Dr Iain Robertson, of Swansea University College of Science, said: “This project has united the entire University. From approval, we were able to deliver World Health Organization recommended hand sanitiser to where it was needed within seven days. We have been able to utilise the chemical processing expertise of the SPECIFIC team.  Swansea University is delighted to support NHS workers and carers.”

The tourism industry is vital to the Swansea Bay economy, attracting around 4.7million visitors last year and worth more than £461million to the area.

It has been hit hard by the pandemic being one of the first sectors to be affected by Government closures in March.

The sector is eagerly awaiting government advice and guidance as to when it can reopen to be able to welcome visitors once again.