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Chloe Shakesby

London consultancy calls on government to provide more support for UK tourism industry

A London planning and development consultancy has said that the tourism sector in the UK needs to refocus on ‘staycations’ in order to survive.

Lichfields said today that more proactive government support is needed to help the industry thrive in the aftermath of lockdown.

The industry, which accounts for approximately 1 in 20 jobs in the UK, has seen inbound tourist numbers to the UK declining by 59 per cent this year, with a 63 per cent reduction in spend.

Lichfields said that a “concerted effort” is needed by councils to update their local development plans to recognise the importance of tourism to their local areas and incentivise inward investment.

It also said that organisations should create bespoke destination management plans to establish current and future tourism priorities, and that partnerships should be cultivated between central government, local planning authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the private sector.

Lichfields’ associate director Ian York said: “With the forecast reduction in inbound visitors, domestic tourism will take on greater importance in safeguarding the tourism sector and supporting jobs and industry in the areas that rely on visitor trade.

“The Tourism Deal published in June 2019 was long overdue and rightly ‘shines a light’ on the importance of the sector.

“However, more proactive government support is needed to take forward the recommendations therein and look to extend them, acknowledging the drastic change to the tourism landscape since the deal was published, to assist private sector efforts to improve the quality of the tourism product.

“This will encourage UK residents to stay here for their holidays – the rise in staycations will be more important than ever to the economy – and market UK tourism overseas, encouraging foreign visitors back, potentially in greater numbers than before.”

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