Tunbridge Wells Common

Tunbridge Wells Common

town vista by David Hodgkinson

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A New Marketing Campaign - The Secret Garden of England

Visit Tunbridge Wells is participating in a collaboration alongside other Kent tourism services, Visit Kent and central government to encourage visitors to summer safely during this latter part of the season and into Autumn.  Visit Kent has put together a comprehensive campaign called The Secret Garden of England including a beautiful new video to highlight the attraction of this county.

Visit Kent has provided a toolkit for businesses to get involved by sharing the video and messages on social media. The Visit Kent press release can be read here [pdf]. Have a look at the Visit Kent consumer landing page.

We hope you can share this across your channels to support the visitor economy in Kent along with us.

August reopening news

Here is the government guidance allowing theatres, music venues, indoor play, bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks to re-open from 15 Aug as well as salons offering face to face treatments.

This is the full listing of guidance for the various sectors of industry. If you do not carry out a risk assessment the Health and Safety Executive or local authority can issue an enforcement notice.

Fourth of July was the re-opening date for self-contained accommodation including hotels and campsites. Pubs and restaurants re-opened too but with table service only and customer contact details to be collected.

Visit England launched their quality mark 'We're Good to Go' for businesses to use to indicate "COVID safe" standards to provide reassurance and confidence to the accommodation and tourism sector. It is a free scheme and you apply online.

For venues which regisgtered for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, here is a video outlining how to make your business claims.

In order to collect client details, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued 5 simple steps to make this easy for you:

Ask for only what's needed

Be transparent about what you need and why

Carefully store the data in a secure manner

Don't use the data for anything else like mailing lists

Erase it securely

If you need more help, the ICO is available to answer your questions on 0303 123 1113.

Hairdressers and barbers also opened from 4 July, as did places of worship and weddings were allowed to take place both with a maximum of 30 people at one time in attendance.

From 13 July the following were allowed to open for some services after a risk assessment had been completed: beauty salons, spas, wellness businesses, physiotherapy and massage venues, nail bars, tattooists, body piercing salons, make up artists, tanning shops, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.  The full guidance is available from the government website.

The government guidance for gyms and fitness facilities must be followed.

Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques will need to remain closed for the time being.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has put together a booklet for Tourism & Hospitality Re-opening guidance with strategic advice and tips to help you get through this difficult time.

Re-opening Retail in Tunbridge Wells Borough

You can find the Council's retail re-opening resources on their website. This covers actions taken by the Council and links to risk assessments and notices to display on your premises.

Please make sure, if you are opening a retail unit, that you read all the guidance available to you to help with health and safety and risk assessments. Penshurst Place has a good summary on their website to indicate the measures they have put in place specifically for the visitor.

Business Support for the tourism and hospitality sector during the COVID19 pandemic

For those that are self employed, the second phase of the self employment grant is open.

TWBC has a range of guidance for businesses in the borough including specifically for food businesses wishing to diversify and for looking after closed premises. This is updated regularly. There is also a summary page of all the financial help that is available including furloughing.  We regularly share timely information on our business Twitter account too - @TWBC_Business

Along with other local authorities we are funding business advisers to help all sectors develop and implement personalised recovery plans. You can access this free programme through the Kent and Medway Growth Hub

If you need urgent business help or advice, please call the business support hotline on 03333 602 300 Mon - Fri, 8.30am - 5pm. 

We are communicating with tourism organisations like Visit Kent and Tourism South East to keep up to date with the latest.

Help with Marketing

In the meantime, Visit Kent has provided a toolkit for keeping our region in front of the visitors' eyes on social media.  We are, as are they, of course sensitive to over-promotion and will keep the safety of the local population in mind.

The "new normal" webinar for the hospitality industry came to us free from ThreeSixtee via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. 

If you can share your new practices to reassure your clientele with us in the form of video or images then please do, tag us in on Facebook (@VisitTunbridgeWells) or on Instagram (TunbridgeWellsVisitor - consumer profile) and we can help spread the news.

Keep Tourism Going

Guidance for working safely is constantly being updated on the government's website.

Free webinars to learn how to adapt are available from Visit Kent, Visit Britain, Tourism South East and the Kent and Medway Growth Hub. Some also include how to's for Facebook and Instagram if you're not used to these for your business.

The Experience project is an exciting new EU funded scheme set up for businesses who have new ideas for rural well-being products to attract visitors beyond the summer season. At this time, diversification is key and this is an ideal support package to get your new products flying. Read more about it on our EU Interreg Experience page.

Business advice

If you are wondering how to start up or expand your tourism business, The National Centre for Micro-Business, approved by the Council and West Kent Partnership, provide a free expert business consultation.  They will talk to you, in confidence, and help you put together a targeted plan including the vital cashflow plan and where to obtain funding if it available.  To obtain more details please see their website. Highly recommended by other businesses.


Cyberscams, online fraud, digital crime - these are all hot topics in business today.  Central Government has provided funds to help microbusinesses tackle these worrying issues.  Check the Cybercrime web page on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's web site. You will also find advice on what to do if your business is affected.

Grants For Your Business

For more information on growing your business, the TWBC website is helpful.

Business seminars and workshops

Information about free business support and advice workshops on the Council Business Support Events web pages including one-to-one advice to help you grow your business as well as advise new start ups.

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