CEO Deirdre Wells Comments on Government's New Tourism Recovery Plan

The Government has today launched a recovery plan for the UK tourism industry which recognises the significance of the industry as a major contributor to the UK economy.   The report also acknowledges the dire impact which the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the sector.    From the record levels of £75 billion that were generated from the industry in 2019, the industry has seen revenue and footfall drop by over 60% in the past year.  

The report sets out an ambitious target to restore the industry to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 for domestic tourism and 2023 for international – a full year ahead of forecasts with a number of key principles to support the recovery :

  • Supporting growth across all nations and regions of the UK
  • Building back better to a more resilient industry – greater use of digital capability; enhanced tourism product; and a skilled,  UK-based workforce, employed in year-round jobs
  • An industry which supports and enhances our natural and historic environment
  • Making the UK a world-leading accessible destination, including appointing an Accessible Tourism Ambassador
  • Making the UK a leading European nation for hosting business events

As part of this recovery strategy, the Government has also announced a number of initiatives to kick-start the recovery, including :

  • A New Rail Pass to support domestic leisure rail travel
  • £10 million of Tourism Vouchers supported by the National Lottery and redeemable at UK tourist attractions

The report recognises that whilst developing a long-term sustainable strategy for the industry is imperative,   the priority must be to remove the remaining restrictions and ensure that the industry is fully operational as soon as possible.

Commenting on the report, Deirdre Wells, OBE, CEO of Go To Places said: 

“We welcome today’s report which aligns with much of our own priorities – in particular, the need to develop a more sustainable, year-round offer with the short-term imperative to rebuild demand.  We were particularly pleased to see the announcement of the national voucher scheme.  The success of our “Big Weekend” programme has highlighted the impact which such programmes can have to drive demand and repeat business.

Today’s report recognises the huge value which our industry brings to the UK economy and to communities across the UK.   We hope that the ambitious targets to accelerate the recovery a full year ahead of forecasts, will be matched by an equally ambitious Comprehensive Spending Review settlement to enable us to deliver.”