Starting or running a tourism business
Useful information on some of our most Frequently Asked Questions
In this section:
- What support is available for tourism businesses during the pandemic?
- Free pavement café licences for hospitality businesses
- 'We're Good to Go' accreditation
- Getting Graded / Listed with Visit Wales
- Tourism Funding and Support
- Starting a new business
- What is a Tourism Needs and Development Impact Assessment (TNDIA)
- How to write an Access Statement
- Brown Signs for tourism businesses
A wide range of support has been made available from Swansea Council and Welsh Government to assist tourism businesses during the pandemic.
Local businesses have received unprecedented levels of financial support from Swansea Council and Welsh and UK Government schemes.
Business Wales have been busy assisting businesses directly on various Covid-related issues., including funding and online training.
A 'pavement café licence' enables businesses to provide designated seated-only areas outside for their customers to eat and drink.
In light of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the process of applying for a pavement café licence has been streamlined and is now free of charge to allow new applicants to quickly create an outdoor seating area for use up until 31 March 2021.
For more information and to apply, visit swansea.gov.uk/pavementcafe
'We're Good To Go' is the official UK mark to signal that your business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, that you have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
The scheme is FREE to join and open to all businesses across the tourism & hospitality industry.
To obtain the mark, businesses must complete a self-assessment through an online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We're Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online.
Businesses in Wales can apply via the Good to Go website.
Visit Wales is the tourism arm of Welsh Government and run the official grading schemes for tourism businesses in Wales.
Please note this scheme is currently under review following the COVID-19 pandemic as visits cannot take place. An announcement is expected over the coming weeks.
You can register your interest in becoming Listed or Graded by contacting your local Tourism Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attractions can sign up to Visit Wales' Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme (VAQAS) whereas activity operators will need to self-certify their accreditation details with a recognised national accreditation scheme.
All graded / listed / accredited businesses will qualify for a free listing on the Visit Wales consumer website and on the official destination website for Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower ww.visitswanseabay.com, which is run by Swansea Council's Tourism Team.
- Financial support is available to businesses who have been affected by the pandemic this year. Find out more on the Business Wales website.
- A number of grants and loans are available to city centre businesses through Swansea Council, such as the Property Enhancement Development Grant (PEDG) and Town Centre Loan Fund (TCLF). For more information, visit the Council's Business Funding pages or contact email@example.com
- Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 supporting businesses, farmers, the countryside, and communities in rural areas. The programme is a 7 year European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme funded by the European Union and Welsh Government. Swansea RDP are open to discussions around project ideas from community groups and social enterprises, which are new and innovative to rural Swansea and have community benefit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Visit Wales, the tourism arm of Welsh Government, may also offer support for your tourism project. Find out more at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/tourism/finance
- Other funding and grant schemes may be available for your organisation through the following schemes: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/fundingandgrants
Business Wales delivers a range of free and subsidised services on behalf of the Welsh Government, to get your start-up idea off to a flying start or to help with business plans and funding opportunities for your project.
Before you start any work, contact our planning department for advice on planning permission and a pre-application visit.
This is particularly important if you are considering starting a new business, converting or extending your premises. Even if you only wish to start offering simple B&B in your home, or to equip an existing building as a holiday cottage where no structural alterations to the property are necessary, you may still need 'change of use' planning permission to do so.
Tourism-related projects are often requested to submit at TNDIA (Tourism Needs and Development Impact Assessment) alongside their planning application. This is set out in the Tourism policies of the Local Development Plan (LDP) 2020-2025. The LDP is available to view on the Strategic Planning page at: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/ldp
Paragraph 2.11.6 from the Tourism and Recreation section (page 210) states that the information required within a TNDIA will be proportionate to the nature of the proposal, its scale and location. However, as a general overview the types of information required as part of a TNDIA would be:
• Evidence to support why a development of this type is needed, for example, no such facilities or sites exist within the Locality, or there is a waiting list of people wanting to use existing visitor accommodation sites in the vicinity
• Evidence to show that the proposal is viable and sustainable as a tourism business
• Impact on the local community, for example, how the development will support the economy, number of jobs created, increased revenue / visitor spend in local economy
• If appropriate, how the impact on agricultural business will be mitigated, for example, loss of grazing
• Evidence of vacancy rates within a reasonable geographical area, as agreed with the Council, in order to demonstrate any significant unmet need
• Assessment of the anticipated levels of vehicular traffic, parking space demand and highway safety impact
• Demonstration that the development is of high quality, sustainable buildings which extend the existing tourism offer
• A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, including details of appropriate mitigation
You can contact the planning department for further advice on 01792 635701 or email email@example.com.
An Access Statement (or Accessibility Guide) is a clear, accurate and honest written statement of the services and facilities you offer. It helps you to communicate your facilities and services to disabled people and other customers who want specific accessibility information, such as older travellers and families with young children.
Detailing the accessibility of your venue in an Access Statement will enable these people, their family and friends to make informed decisions as to where to stay and visit in view of their individual requirements.
It is not only physical issues that need to be considered, but also the sensory qualities such as décor, lighting, etc.
Your Access Statement is a living document and needs to be updated on a regular basis. It should ideally include photos and measurements.
More guidance and examples of Access Statements can be found on the Visit Britain website as well as on the Handy Guide from Visit Wales below:
The RNIB has shared some tips on how you can support the shopping experience for blind and partially sighted customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Download the RNIB short and useful guide.
Swansea Council has adopted a formal policy for businesses to follow if they wish to apply for brown and white tourism signage.
Firstly, applications are assessed against basic tourism criteria to establish whether the applicant is eligible, for example is it graded, do they attract a minimum number of visitors per year, do they have adequate facilities to accommodate large numbers, etc. All tourism businesses need to demonstrate that signage will be used to help direct people to the location rather than to promote their business.
If the business fulfils the criteria from a tourism perspective, it is then passed on to the highways team for assessment. They will look at different elements that may affect whether the business is eligible for signage, for example if the highway can accommodate signage, how many signs may be required, etc. If a business is successful at both stages, they will receive a formal quote for the signs. Applicants are required to cover all costs involved with acquiring the signs including a £100 non-refundable administration fee and any future maintenance.
Please email Geraldine.Williams@swansea.gov.uk for more information.