Windsor plans to attract staycation crowd during coronavirus

WINDSOR’S tourism hopes to capitalise on the staycation crowd as ‘significant’ international visitor numbers are not expected.

With coronavirus and the lockdown deeply impacting air travel, it has been forecast that international tourism is expected to significantly drop worldwide this year – with councillors at a Windsor Town Forum meeting on July 22 (Wednesday) told the town will be focusing on attracting domestic tourists as lockdown eases instead.

Paul Roach, Windsor town manager, said: “In terms of external visitors, the expectation is that’s not going to significantly change until the New Year in terms of significant numbers coming through.

“Some of that is linked to flights, people not wanting to go away, and so the focus will be on trying to attract people from the UK and other parts to visit Windsor.”

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The UK government had urged citizens to go on staycations rather than go abroad in hopes to boost the local economy and the domestic tourism industry while recovering from the effects of lockdown.

Seventy per cent of tourists visiting Windsor are domestic, according to the council’s visitor manager, Julia White, and she said they’re planning to appeal to the ‘hyper local market’ – which means neighbouring borough’s like Bracknell or South Bucks – to visit Windsor for a short stop.

A wider ‘short break’ campaign will kick in around August to appeal to the domestic tourists across the UK when more hotels and businesses reopen and adapt to this new way life.

At next week’s cabinet meeting, a proposal will be brought forward to close the museum and move face-to-face tourist information to digital – although it does not specify if it’s temporary or permanent.

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Expressing his concerns, councillor Neil Knowles (Old Windsor Residents’ Association: Old Windsor), said this move would send a ‘mixed message’ to people.

He said: “Windsor has a lot of things going on – but to the casual visitor coming into Windsor, they may not be immediately apparent so I still think there’s value to that staying open and the face-to-face element sends an important message Windsor is open and we’re not hiding away.”

Legoland reopened its doors earlier in July with social distancing measure placed while Windsor Castle reopened to the public on July 23, Thursday to Monday, and tickets must be booked in advance.

Councillor Samantha Rayner (Conservative: Eton and Castle), lead member for leisure services and Windsor, said these resorts and the town itself will appeal to the staycation crowd – and that Windsor has great opportunities to ‘take advantage of’.

Royal Borough Observer | News WIndsor