Chief Executive Rachel McQueen comments on the Tourism Recovery Update
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- Chief Executive Rachel McQueen comments on the Tourism Recovery Update
In March the UK Government addressed the commitments it made in 2021 to support the tourism industry, with the issue of the Tourism Recovery Plan Update. It explicitly recommends continued support for the visitor economy through the framework of the Tourism Recovery Plan; and it outlines the steps they will continue to take to support the future of the industry in the medium to long term.
The Report sets out the mixed picture of recovery in the sector but overall, there has been good progress against the objectives of the Plan. In total, over £37 billion in support through grants, tax relief and loans was provided to the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors to help them survive through the long periods of uncertainty and adversity. However, the sector is still facing economic challenges from global inflation, labour shortages and high levels of debt, which are eroding profit margins and threatening the viability of businesses.
Domestic tourism is recovering well, but international tourism is lagging behind the targets set in the Plan. Behind this mixed picture of recovery, there is huge long term potential for economic growth and increasing the sector’s economic contribution.
Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire comments on the report;
“Clearly a lot of progress has been made, which is testament to the sector’s determination and resilience, but there is still a long way to go, and the report rightly recognises that further Government support and actions are required;
“No substantive new funding is identified, instead a focus on funding streams which ‘could be put towards supporting the ambition to grow tourism in every nation and region’, including the Towns Fund, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Rural England Prosperity Fund and UK Community Renewal Fund. We need to work with local authority partners to ensure that the importance of supporting the visitor economy is recognised within the implementation plans being developed via these available funds.
“The challenge and opportunity of sustainable tourism is strongly recognised, with a commitment to publish a Sustainable Tourism Plan in 2024. Sustainability has also been identified as a key driver in Lancashire’s visitor economy growth plan and in response to consultation feedback we are looking to further strengthen that element of Lancashire’s approach.
“There are a couple of specific future actions identified where we believe Lancashire could act as a really useful test-bed, specifically the idea of hospitality-led regeneration-hubs and the drive to support the development of the country’s food and drink tourism offer. Marketing Lancashire has already written to DCMS to explore how Lancashire might become a demonstrator for the former and/or a destination lead for the latter.”
Read the full Tourism Recovery Plan update March 2023
The Tourism Recovery Plan, and this Update Report, were produced through significant cross-Whitehall engagement, in recognition of the wide and varied nature of visitor economy interests across departmental portfolios – from transport to hospitality, borders to the environment, local communities to food supply chains. As such, the Plan and Update Report set out actions to be taken forward by a number of departments.