Tourism chief calls on people to help sector bounce back from coronavirus on visit to Staffordshire

People across the West Midlands and Staffordshire have been called on to visit attractions to help businesses get back on their feet.

Tourism leaders have said they want to see residents explore sites "on their doorstep" – and enjoy day-trips to them safely.

It comes as the sector reopened last week as part of an easing of lockdown restrictions by the Government dubbed "Super Saturday".

The move has seen businesses reopen their doors – including Alton Towers and Drayton Manor theme parks in Staffordshire.

Elsewhere, Bewdley's West Midlands Safari Park reopened fully to guests after partially reopening on June 15 for the four-mile safari drive-through.

Now visitors will be able to experience its walk-through attractions, rides, restaurant and shops – all with strict measures in place.

Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire was another attraction to reopen along with Birmingham's Sea Life Centre. Dudley Zoo, another tourist attraction, opened last month.

Cadbury World in Birmingham will reopen next week, but other attractions including the Severn Valley Railway and the Black Country Living Museum will reopen next month.

A spokesman for the chocolate company said: "We’re delighted to be able to welcome people back to Cadbury World from July 18 with enhanced hygiene and safety measures."

Sir Patrick McLoughlin, chairman of the British Tourist Authority, was among those who visited attractions in Staffordshire as lockdown eased.

Mr McLoughlin, who was born in Stafford and worked as a miner at the Littleton Colliery in Cannock, returned to the county to see how businesses were adapting.

The former local councillor and MP for Derbyshire, now tourism boss, visited Drayton Manor near Tamworth along with The Moat House hotel in Acton Trussell on his visit.

Mr McLoughlin said: "I am delighted to visit Staffordshire and mark the reopening of England’s tourism’s industry.

"I know that local businesses of all sizes across the sector have been working extremely hard preparing to welcome visitors back and to give them a safe and enjoyable experience.

"Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism right across the country and the industry needs all of us to make sure it gets back on its feet.

"We also want visitors to be able to enjoy their day-trips and holidays and to support businesses to be confident they have the correct procedures in place and are 'good to go'.

"Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy so I also encourage people to explore what is on their doorstep and to support their local tourism businesses and visitor attractions.

"The industry is looking forward to welcoming you back."

The trip – organised by Enjoy Staffordshire – allowed the tourism boss to see how businesses are adapting first hand to the demand.

And both businesses have received the "We're Good To Go" VisitEngland accreditation to reassure people over their coronavirus fears.

Measures at both sites include rigorous cleaning social distancing signs as well as the cleaning of the rides at Drayton Manor and ordering through an app at The Moat House.

Businesses have been urged to sign up to show customers that procedures are in place to keep them safe and sound during their trip.

For more information on the industry standard "We're Good To Go" scheme, visit https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/were-good-go-industry-standard

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