TBCN Zoom – 16 March

TBCN Zoom – 16 March

The next open meeting of the TBCN will take place on Tuesday 16th March from 4pm. This is a live panel event with representatives from the three Torbay Chambers and the Torbay Business Forum.

This meeting is open to all. It features discussion of local business topics, plus breakout rooms so you can contribute and network with other members online.

This is a Zoom Meeting, a video conferencing meeting that’s hosted using Zoom. You can join these meetings via a webcam or phone. If this is your first use of Zoom, you may need to download the Zoom client or app.

To register: https://bit.ly/3aZ9gQA

NCTA – Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism Businesses

NCTA – Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism Businesses

The NCTA have been surveying businesses around the coast to help assess and understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on coastal tourism businesses in England. The survey will be repeated in different waves throughout 2021, the results of which will be published on this page.

So far we have results from Wave 1, the survey was live between 18th January – 7th February 2021.

Headlines from Wave 1 of the business barometer survey below:

  • 86.7% of businesses saw a decrease in turnover in 2020 with 54.2% of all businesses seeing decrease of more than half their annual turnover and the average decrease in turnover -54%
  • 84.65% say ongoing government support “will make a significant difference between survival and collapse” – with grants, and extensions to the Business Rates relief, Job Retention scheme and VAT reduction most popular requests
  • 53.71% of businesses say it will take more than a year before they return to a profit.
  • 55% have decreased staffing levels
  • Prior to the latest lockdown two thirds of businesses were operating at less than 75% capacity
  • The vast majority of businesses (over two thirds) say less than 25% of capacity is booked across all seasons – Summer 2021 is the most booked season
  • 59% of businesses are planning to rethink their product or marketing to aid recovery, of which: 57% want to target new audience; 44.7% want to create new experiences for visitors and 34% want to alter the existing consumer experience
  • Targeting new audiences, improving digital presence and increasing repeat visits were top areas of business support requested by businesses, in terms of specific digital support improving social media was the most popular request

Download the PDF of business survey results here

‘Our voice has to be heard’

‘Our voice has to be heard’

Celebrity chefs and other leading players in tourism and hospitality are calling for a bigger voice in Parliament for their battered industry.  

A ‘Seat at the Table’ campaign has been launched in a bid to see a Minister specifically put in charge of hospitality and given a place within the cabinet. A tourism minister currently sits within the remit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  

More than 180,000 people have so far signed a campaign petition which means there are enough signatures to force a debate in the Commons on January 11.

But supporters want the names to keep rolling in to ram home the message that they want a louder voice in the corridors of power to help a sector which has lost an estimated £200 million to the pandemic in Torbay alone and which will play a major role in getting the entire country back on its feet.  

Well-known Torbay businessman and celeb chef Mitch Tonks is leading charge locally just as another national lockdown is announced. 

Tonks, whose restaurants include the Rockfish chain in Torquay and Brixham as well as the Seahorse in Dartmouth, says: “We want as many signatures as we can. We want 500,000.  We want the government to realise that we are going to play a big part in the country’s recovery and they need to listen. 

“Our industry is full of brilliant entrepreneurs. It is down to these entrepreneurs to help rebuild our economy.  

“If you go for a walk there’s the cafe and the restaurant and the pubs where we meet friends. We are an island nation. We need to meet.”  

The English Riviera BID Company is fully behind the campaign. Chief executive Carolyn Custerson said: “At the moment it is wrapped up in culture, media and sport. There isn’t even a ‘T’ for tourism or a ‘H’ for hospitality in the title. 

“Covid it has shown how critical hospitality is and how many jobs are at stake.” 

She praised the government and the DCMS for the help it has so far given. 

“The support has been unbelievable, with the furlough scheme, grants, extending VAT and business rates holidays.” 

But she added: “With the industry knocked off its knees for almost 12 months now the money they have managed to earn in between has not been enough even with that help.” 

The petition can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552201/signatures/new 

Original story by Jim Parker in Torbay Weekly

Star rating for Brixham toilet saved by people power

Star rating for Brixham toilet saved by people power

A Brixham toilet that was saved from closure by people power has been given a coveted loo award.

The public toilet at Fishcombe Cove was threatened with closure last summer as Torbay Council ran out of funds to keep it going.

But the public rallied round and backed a campaign by the next-door Fishcombe Cove Cafe to keep it open.

And now it has been given the accolade of a British Toilet Association Three-Star Toilet Award.

Chloe and Emilia Pavely, who run the cafe, held fundraising events over the summer and raised thousands of pounds to put towards cleaning products and the other costs of keeping the toilets open, clean and safe to use.

“It’s such a lovely feeling when hard work gets recognised,” they said on social media.

“And it’s not just us at the cafe doing the hard work, it’s people in our community who have volunteered their time to help clean them daily, put fresh flowers in, restock the loo rolls etc.

“Big shout out to you guys because we would have been truly stuck without your help.

“Who’d have thought we would have award winning toilets here at Fishcombe Cove?”

Original story by Guy Henderson on InYourArea

How mussels could help soaring food demand and the environment

How mussels could help soaring food demand and the environment

Feeding the world’s ever-increasing population is a growing challenge, pushing the limits of what the planet can sustain. By 2050, the demand for food is expected to be 70 to 100 percent higher than today.

How to face such a challenge in a sustainable way?

The Holmyard family in Devon, UK, believe they have a possible solution – farming mussels.

Offshore Shellfish is John’s dream basically,” says Nicki Holmyard, who together with her husband John founded the company off the coast of South Devon.

“He had a dream when he was 17 and was interested in mussels, went to university, studied mussels, and then he really wanted to do something with them.”

John started his career in the late 1980s in the mussel farms in Scotland, where he was one of the pioneers of the sector. But his passion for mussel farming and his ambition to feed more people brought him to found his own company, where two of his children also work.

Offshore Shellfish is based in Brixham, Devon, where the temperature of the water is just right for the mussels to grow.

“We’re round about the boundary of where the water coming down the English Channel meets the water coming up from the Atlantic,” explains John. “And where you get that zone of mixing, you often get very good growth of plankton.”

The mussels feed on plankton, the single-cell algae on which the marine food chain is based.

Offshore Shellfish uses a unique set of adaptive technology to cultivate Devon’s native blue mussel on suspended ropes, in the open sea, at low density.

Rope-grown mussels are considered a “super green” food option, as mussel farming uses no land, fresh water, or pesticides. Actually, according to John, the whole ecosystem benefits from the farming of the mussels.

“I think we’re benefiting the fishing indirectly because of all the food that gets released from the farm, whether it be little shrimps or worms or things like that, the fish that come into the farm, and eventually they’ll leave a little bit fatter than when they come in,” he says.

Researchers from Plymouth University are monitoring the impacts of the farm on the marine ecosystem. The last study they published showed 56 different species living on and around the ropes used to grow the mussels.

“It’s also acting as its own nature reserve,” explains Nicki. “Before we arrived, the seabed was basically fished out and scoured. We have that from studies that we took before we started. The seabed has become more populated. Lobsters, crabs, there are many, many different creatures that live there. So it has become its own little marine protected area.”

Mussels have a very low carbon footprint compared with other protein sources. They capture and trap carbon in their shells, acting like a “carbon sink.”

They absorb carbon from the ocean, which contains half the world’s CO2, to build their shells, locking the carbon forever. Mussels also absorb nitrogen from the seas as well as cleaning the water of pollution.

Apart from being sustainable, mussels are very good for human health. They are considered one of the ultimate superfoods, being high in protein, low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals – and as Sarah, Nicki and John’s daughter, say, they’re also very tasty and easy to cook. 

“There is nothing quicker and simpler, in my opinion, to cook, and certainly from the sea,” she says.

Mussels may not be the first food people would think of to help save the planet and might not be on too many plates worldwide. But the Holmyards certainly making the case to ramp up consumption. 

Original story on CGTN