AS the Coronavirus lockdown approaches its scheduled hopeful conclusion, the county’s official tourist board has released latest figures demonstrating the importance of tourism to the Staffordshire economy.
To coincide with the return of the annual English Tourism Week (May 25 - 31), Destination Staffordshire announced the total annual value of tourism to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is £1.85bn – an increase of 2.3% on 2017.
The value was revealed in a study by The Research Solution, which also stated the number of jobs supported by tourism was 32,421, which equates to almost 7% of the total employment in the county.
The majority of tourism and hospitality businesses are currently closed, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, but are hoping to reopen in July in accordance with Government guidelines.
And Staffordshire residents are being asked to do their bit to help the industry recover, by visiting the county’s attractions and spending their money in pubs, restaurants and other local hospitality businesses.
They can also show their support before lockdown ends, by downloading the I Support English Tourism poster from https://www.visitbritain.org/english-tourism-week, and sharing it on social media with the #EnglishTourismWeek20 hashtag.
Mark Winnington, cabinet member responsible for tourism at Staffordshire County Council and vice chairman of Destination Staffordshire said: “Tourism continues to play a huge role in Staffordshire, generating millions of pounds for the local economy and employing thousands of people.
“English Tourism Week gives us an opportunity to recognise that and cherish what we have, from some of the biggest theme parks in the country to the guesthouses and cafes going the extra mile to give visitors a wonderful experience.
“All of Staffordshire’s tourism and hospitality businesses will need support after the lockdown, and we urge all the county’s residents to do their bit to help this vital local industry get back on its feet over the next few months."
Emma Catterall, divisional director at Alton Towers Resort, said: “At Alton Towers Resort, we are incredibly lucky to be situated in the stunning Staffordshire Moorlands, and we’re very proud of the contribution we make to the local economy.
“This is a difficult time for all of us, and that’s why it’s so important that we are working with Destination Staffordshire and other local attractions to support each other as we prepare to reopen.
“English Tourism Week is a great opportunity for us to highlight the ongoing challenges that lockdown presents for the tourism industry in our area, and also to thank our guests for their continuing support.
“We look forward to welcoming you back soon!”
Destination Staffordshire is working with partners including VisitBritain/VisitEngland, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire Chambers and the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub, to help the sector find financial and business support, and prepare for the end of the lockdown.
Full details can be found at https://www.enjoystaffordshire.com/trade/what-we-do/business-support