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Recovery by re-imagining the visitor economy across the South West

Posted on: 23/09/2021

The areas of Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall comprise the largest UK visitor market outside of London, generating an annual visitor spend of £7.1 billion, pre-COVID-19. The pandemic meant a loss of 52% of all revenue across the region in 2020 – equivalent to around £3.7 billion of anticipated tourism business turnover and a further £798 million loss in supply chain revenues.

A new prospectus released by the Great South West Tourism Partnership sets out key priorities to enable year round sustainability in the tourism industry, addressing seasonality and ways to deliver clean growth to establish the region as the most accessible and inclusive destination in the UK.

The publication highlights how the region’s visitor economy directly supports more than 133,000 full-time equivalent jobs with tourism representing 9% of all Gross Value Added (GVA) for the region. This in turn stimulates business and encourages inward investment, supporting the wider economy through various supply chains and most notably for the area, the food production industry.

Developed by the Great South West Tourism Partnership – a collaboration of three Local Enterprise Partnerships, seven county and unitary authorities, six universities and major businesses – the 18-month plan maps out opportunities to re-energise the visitor economy and steer it in a new direction. The partnership is hard-hitting in its proposal with ambitions to increase accessible visits by 33%, reduce the environmental impact of the industry and level up our rural, coastal and city areas.

Richard Smith, Chair of Dorset LEP’s advisory group, Dorset Tourism Association, said: “Dorset LEP is proud to be a part of this partnership to drive economic growth in this sector to 2030 and beyond.

“This report is an important step towards our region’s recovery and aligns not only with Dorset LEP’s priorities for Dorset to deliver clean and inclusive economic growth, but also with strategies included in the UK government’s Build Back Better and Levelling Up agenda.

I am excited by the plans to stabilise the sector, reduce seasonality and improve connectivity in Dorset. The Project Gigabit investment recently announced by the UK government will greatly improve the rural broadband infrastructure in the region, with Dorset and Cornwall set to benefit first from the investment.

Read the full report at www.dorsetlep.co.uk/great-south-west




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