A tour guide who earns a living by dressing as Robin Hood and showing visitors Nottingham says he’s barely worked since the start of Covid.
Ade Andrews is a familiar face across the county, but most people simply know him as Robin Hood. His character-led heritage tours have won both local and national awards.
Since early 2020, most of his work has dried up. The absence of international tourists and months of lockdown restrictions mean there’s simply few ways for him to earn money.
Ade says he’s lost tens of thousands of pounds.
“Financially, my income has been decimated. It’s a case of having to get by and lie low.” said Ade.
“All of my work is public facing. It’s not only tours, it’s opening conferences, V.I.P launches, industry people and delegates. None of that is going on at the moment.”
The tour guide is getting through the pandemic by using the government grant for self-employed workers.
Ade’s business, ‘Ezekial Bone’, embraces a range of historical characters in tourism spots across Notts.
Ade says it’s not only a financial toll. Not being allowed to guide people through Nottingham has a personal effect too.
“I love going out and meeting people, educating them, inspiring them and showing off the city. It’s a magical experience.”
“I’m missing that greater joy in my life.” said Ade.
Tourism is a key part of Nottinghamshire’s economy. But having no tourists affects more than just attractions like Wollaton Hall or Newstead Abbey.
Visit Nottinghamshire, which works to encourage tourists to come here, says the hospitality industry has taken a huge hit.
Sophie Milne, who is a communications executive at Visit Nottinghamshire says hotels and coffee shops are suffering.
“The tourism and hospitality sectors are some of the hardest hit sectors because of the pandemic. A lot of them haven’t been able to operate in a way that’s financially viable.”
Visit Nottinghamshire works with around 500 businesses in the county. Before Covid, it mostly helped develop marketing strategies. Now, a large role is helping businesses apply for recovery grants.
It helped 125 businesses as part of the Reopening the High Streets Safely Fund and 45 for the D2N2 Covid-19 Grant Recovery Scheme.
Sophie said ” We’ve been sign posting them to funding that’s available, explaining what it is and how to apply.”
People working in the local sector are hopeful. Nottingham Castle is expected to reopen in Spring 2021.
After a 30 million pound restoration project, it’s hoped the new castle will attract tourists from across the UK, until international travellers are more likely to visit.