New UK travel deal directory launched for NHS staff

A new UK initiative is bringing together travel deals to thank frontline NHS staff for their commitment during the coronavirus pandemic. The Britain Unites scheme launched on 1 August and calls on tourism and hospitality businesses to offer free and discounted tickets for attractions, tours and meals – in turn encouraging the return of domestic travel.

The scheme is backed by industry bodies, including VisitBritain, UKinbound, and the London Tourism Cooperative, and aims to build an online directory of deals for UK attractions and venues. The directory will grow as more businesses open and new offers are launched. In order to redeem deals, a valid NHS staff ID or a Blue Light Card is required. The latter is available for all emergency services and NHS staff to sign up for and use around the UK at participating venues and online.

Current offers include free entry to Kew Gardens, Royal Museums Greenwich, Strawberry Field, Liverpool and The Original Tour City Sampler bus tour; 50% off at Goodwood’s Secret Cinema Drive-In, in Sussex; and 20% off entry to St Paul’s Cathedral. The site will also include links to the UK tourism pages of the Health Service Discounts site, which includes offers such as 20% off English Heritage membership, 10% off Forest Holidays, and reduced tickets to theatre, theme parks, go karting, castles and more.

More deals will be added in coming weeks, including a collaboration with ticket retailer Live Nation to help revive the UK music industry.

“NHS staff have been on the frontline of a war. Following years of funding cuts, and several months battling a pandemic, we believe it is time for our healthcare system to receive the credit it deserves,” said Emma-Jane Nutbrown, the founder of Britain Unites.

The scheme also aims to bring a much-needed boost to the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors. “The pandemic brought tourism to a standstill causing massive job and revenue losses,” said Nutbrown. “As an industry, this is our opportunity to say thank you to our NHS heroes, and give something back to them, while reviving our country’s businesses by encouraging domestic travel and rebuilding confidence in visiting venues.”

Businesses who want to put forward an offer to be listed (for free), should provide a short description, a high-resolution image and details of the offer and terms. They can do this via the website.

The NHS website also has a separate deals page listing offers on transport, food, entertainment and businesses beyond tourism and hospitality. Some of the current travel-related offers include 50% off at Accor hotels around the UK and at the Ned Hotel in London; free bike rental from Uber Jump; money off at restaurants including Yo! Sushi, Leon, and the Athenian; plus yoga sessions, golf lessons and more.

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