The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new campaign to help get the hospitality sector moving again.

Local businesses will be celebrated through a new FSB social media campaign, #MyHiddenGems. It is set to run throughout the summer to help raise the profile of small firms as restrictions are lessened and businesses can open fully.

Cornwall is busy, so showcasing what small businesses have to offer, right across the county, will maximise the visibility of places for everyone to visit. The idea is to spread visitors and residents to lesser known ‘hidden gems’, highlight local distinctiveness and of course the brilliant small businesses that people can discover.

The campaign focuses specifically on businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector which have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic – they were often the first to close their doors and the last to re-open them.

However, all businesses have something to offer to this campaign, so the FSB is asking businesses and the general public to share their favourites, with photos and recommendations, under the hashtag #MyHiddenGems on Twitter and tagging the local FSB Twitter account handle – @FSBCornwall. The Tweets or other social posts will then be promoted throughout the FSB’s social media and elsewhere to try to create a momentum of support for local companies.

The FSB development manager for Cornwall, Ann Vandermeulen, said it is a good time to remind people of the great businesses on our doorsteps that desperately need our support after their most challenging year ever.

“The re-opening of those last closed businesses on Monday is obviously great news in many ways but with Covid-19 case levels rising, businesses are still uncertain how quickly they will fully be back to normal,” she said.

“Of course, we are asking everyone to follow the ‘house rules’ when going into any business but still support them in any way they can.

“We hope our new campaign will encourage people to use the power of social media to highlight their favourite, cherished local businesses in the hope it will increase their footfall and give the area the economic boost it so badly needs.”

Ian O’Donnell, chair of FSB’s England Policy Unit, said: “After 16 months of disruption, many businesses will be breathing a sigh of relief, particularly in sectors like nightlife, hospitality and events, which have been unable to open or operating on a much restricted and smaller scale.

“Although small firms will now be looking to the future, many have been burdened with high debt levels at the same time as funding their own reopening, which may have been marred by employees being told to self-isolate by the NHS app despite testing negative. This campaign therefore gives people the opportunity to shout about their favourite small firm, whether a café, shop, pub – anywhere you want to share with others!”

The FSB’s recent report ‘A Menu for Recovery’ put forward a series of recommendations to help the sector recover including calling fora new hospitality and tourism strategy, overseen by a minister,extend the hospitality VAT rate reduction to 5% until March 2022, and100% business rates relief throughout the full financial yearfor businesses in England.

The FSB says it has raised these issues at the highest levels of Government and is pleased that the Government has now announced a new hospitality strategy, to be overseen by the Small Business Minister, Paul Scully MP.

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