Councils Launch Major Tourism Sector Support Package
In a major investment to support one of Norfolk’s key industries, Council and business Leaders have agreed to fund a £2.225m Tourism Sector Support Package from the Norfolk Strategic Fund. The project, led by Norfolk County Council in partnership with all seven district councils and Visit East of England, is being put in place to help the tourism sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
The project aims to make Norfolk as safe as possible for both visitors to the county and local residents. Funding will be allocated to each District Council and to Visit East of England and will be used to help create a quality visitor experience whilst maintaining key Public Health messages to ensure we continue to keep Covid-19 figures as low as possible.
Cllr Graham Plant; Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council said; “The visitor economy in Norfolk is worth £3.25bn a year and provides nearly 70,000 jobs in the county. With businesses forced to stop trading just before Easter – the start to the season - it has been amongst the hardest hit industries in Norfolk This package of funding will provide vitally-needed support to those businesses that Covid-19 may have had a devastating impact on. I hope this will help to restart the industry safely and our businesses will experience a safe and successful Summer.”
The package will support the ongoing work being undertaken at a regional and national level with VisitBritain and VisitEngland in seeking to become a Tourism Zone and to develop a sustainable, year-round visitor offer. Immediate activity will include improving the presentation, cleanliness and hygiene of key locations and communication with visitors in advance and, for example through marshalling. A small grants programme is being developed for businesses to support the costs of adapting to the ‘new normal’ and to make the changes needed to extend the season.
Intelligence from the sector reveals the deep impact of lockdown, with high levels of redundancies and business failure projected. This high impact fund is designed to support the Norfolk Recovery Plan and complement the Visitor Economy Recovery Plan developed by Visit East of England, local authorities and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership which was launched last week.
Pete Waters: Visit East of England: “This initiative is exactly what the industry needs as it seeks to get back on its feet. It is hugely important as businesses reopen that visitors and residents feel safe and are reassured. A second spike and lockdown would end Norfolk tourism in 2020 and exacerbate what is already a precarious position.”
Chris Starkie / Doug Field: New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership: “This financial package for the hugely-important tourism sector in Norfolk is very welcome and complements the Tourism Recovery Plan which was developed with Visit East of England and all local authorities and published this week.”
Andrew Stokes: VisitEngland: “It is great to see this collaboration across the industry to developing a recovery plan for tourism, working together locally and nationally will ensure success and get tourism in the east of England on the road to recovery.”
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury: Norfolk County Council: “Working with Visit East of England, Visit Norfolk, local authorities and New Anglia LEP, and ensuring we follow Government guidelines and VisitBritain messaging, this demonstrates the level of joined-up thinking we are applying to helping tourism recover post-pandemic. The level of engagement and collaboration has never been greater, and we hope to see that continue in the future.”