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Position Statement on Language Used | 17th March 2023

This morning, the BBC published an article using Long Covid as a metaphor for a downturn in the tourist industry due to the pandemic

'UK tourism: Visitor attractions suffering long Covid - industry body'.

Later in the day, the headline was changed to; 'UK tourism: Visitor attractions still suffering from pandemic effects'

The article was tweeted by the BBC and other outlets and attracted widespread criticism from charities, people with Long Covid and many others who felt strongly that using a debilitating illness as a metaphor for business was inappropriate, insensitive, discriminatory and offensive.

In the article Bernard Donoghue, the director of ALVA is quoted as saying "still experiencing the tourism equivalent of 'long Covid'" because of fewer holidaymakers coming to the UK.

The BBC later amended the article to include;

He later apologised for making the 'inappropriate' comparison after receiving complaints from long Covid advocacy campaigners.

Long Covid Kids tweeted the BBC early in the morning asking them to amend the heading and tagged Bernard Donoghue.

Long Covid Kids were pleased to receive prompt direct communication and an apology from Bernard Donoghue and open dialogue has ensued.

Along with Long Covid SOS and other partners in the UK Covid Inquiry, we have written a formal letter of complaint to Alva UK through our lawyers Bhatt Murphy:

Letter: Bhatt Murphy 17th March 2023

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

ALVA promptly issued a formal apology on their website for which we thank them for.

This morning we published our members' visitors figures for 2022 and in attempting to convey the long effects of the COVID pandemic on the economy we used the term 'equivalent of long-COVID'.

We apologise for the insensitive and inappropriate use of a medical term to describe an economic impact. We have amended our statement and messaging and asked the media companies who ran the story to do the same. We have replied to, and engaged with everyone who has contacted us this morning.

We are now in contact with a number of COVID organisations who have contacted us this morning and we have said to them that we would be very happy to receive further information about the implications of Long-Covid for the attractions sector, and tourism more broadly, and to meet where the would be of value and useful.

Our Position Statement

It is inappropriate, discriminatory and harmful to state that an industry is suffering long Covid. It is inconceivable that another illness or disabling condition would be referred to in this way. There is no ‘equivalent’ to human suffering. The sentence suggests that long Covid is a pandemic consequence rather than a consequence of disease arising from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Throughout the pandemic long Covid sufferers have fought for recognition and treatment; this type of re-iteration is offensive and harmful.



In 2021 Long Covid Kids became the first UK-based, international registered charity advocating for families, children and young people living with Long Covid and related illness.

The charity focuses on recognition, support and recovery, has already received recognition from the NHS and the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, and is a recommended resource in the NICE Long Covid guidelines.

Our Mission


  • We believe all children should be able to thrive and look forward to a positive future. That is why we represent and support children and young people living with Long Covid and related illnesses and the parents and caregivers that look after them.

Our Vision

  • To achieve recognition, support and recovery for Long Covid and related illnesses in children and young people

Support Our Work

While children are living with life-changing symptoms and families struggle to seek support, we need to be here. Your donation will be used directly to support families living with Long Covid. Find out more about our Impact.



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