Parliamentarians hear how Midlands’ visitor economy has been impacted by coronavirus

Date posted: March 23, 2021
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The impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the Midlands’ visitor economy was the topic of discussion at the latest All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) subgroup meeting, held today (23 March).

The meeting, chaired by Lord Taylor of Holbeach brought together Parliamentarians from across the Midlands Engine to understand the challenges our tourism sector faces and how the APPG can support efforts to recover.

The visitor economy is worth £9.7 billion to the Midlands economy and supports 418,000 jobs, just under 10% of all employment in the region. Our region boasts a wealth of culturally significant attractions which had led to strong growth in job numbers and value between 2015 and 2020.

Those attractions include the resting place of King Richard III in Leicester, the legend of Robin Hood and a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ironbridge, and the newly designated Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark.

The region will also host two upcoming prestigious national and international events: Coventry: UK City of Culture 2021 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

During the meeting’s first presentation, the Director of the Midlands Engine Observatory, Professor Delma Dwight, presented the latest data on the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the sector.

An estimated 70,000 businesses in the Midlands had to be temporarily closed or had to modify opening hours in the third lockdown including 14,000 restaurants, 6000 pubs and bars and over 4000 entertainment venues and accommodation. This has left areas such as the Derbyshire Dales Staffordshire Moorlands and East Lindsey, which rely heavily on tourism as part of their local economy in difficult circumstances.

Lydia Rusling, Towns Fund Assistant Director at East Lindsey District Council, gave an on-the-ground perspective on the current situation whilst Ruth Carver, Chief Executive of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, spoke about how businesses in her area are coping with national restrictions.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.
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