The announcement on Friday by the Prime Minister of a sector deal for tourism has been very positively welcomed by Destination Plymouth and its key partners in Plymouth, reaffirming the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry.
Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the local economy. By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand for infrastructure and will revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of new Tourism Data Hub. The hub will collate regularly updated data showing the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.
The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors and outlines the government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country
Key commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:
- More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London. £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conferences centres across the UK for business visitors
- Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy, through initiatives like targeted support for product and promotion development, mentoring support to businesses and digital skills training
- 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes
- A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors
The deal has been developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Tourism Industry, with regional partners including Destination Plymouth, playing a key role in shaping the detail through extensive consultations locally.
The sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.
Adrian Vinken chairman of Destination Plymouth and the National Mayflower Partnership commented: “This is very welcome news for the UK’s visitor sector. Tourism is a key driver of economic growth for not just the city but also the wider SW region. Using Mayflower 400 in 2020 as a key catalyst Destination Plymouth has seen visitor numbers grow by over 20% over the past 8 years to over 5.1 million annually, supporting nearly 8000 jobs in the city. Mayflower 400 has also attracted significant private sector investment into the city, along with funding support from DCMS, Visit England, Arts Council England and National Heritage lottery Fund for which we are very appreciative.
“We are currently developing our next ten year strategy to 2030 in partnership with Plymouth City Council and key stakeholders within the city which will help deliver the sector deal promise to drive productivity and sustainable growth in Plymouth’s visitor economy.”
Destination Plymouth, established in 2010 was set up to drive forward the city’s visitor marketing agenda and raise the profile of Plymouth on a local, national and international scale to attract more visitors to the city, and an ambition to grow visitor numbers and visitor spend year on year.
In the lead up to 2020 Plymouth has invested in developing its visitor offer with projects including the multi-million pound investment at The Box to create a new arts and culture attraction for Plymouth, public realm improvements and supporting inward investment and capital initiatives like the Drake Leisure development at Bretonside, The Markethall at Devonport and the redevelopment of the Railway Station.
Plymouth is the lead city in both the Mayflower 400 commemoration partnership and in the Discover England Fund US Connections project. ‘US Connections’ is a large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations funded by Visit England that has supported the development a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically for the American market, in the lead up to 2020; a year which marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World.