Plan to support tourism businesses

Tourism businesses will be supported to rebuild from the Covid-19 outbreak Malvern Hills District Council has pledged.

The visitor economy is incredibly important to the district with more than 3.5million day trips taken to The Malverns every year and 211,000 overnight stays. It adds more than £137million to the local economy and supports 2,780 jobs.

The Covid-19 outbreak and following lockdown restrictions have placed the tourism and hospitality industry under immense financial pressure though.

Unemployment figures for April show the number of people claiming out of work benefits in the district has increased 90% compared with April last year and reached its highest level since September 1995. It is feared the hospitality industry will make up a significant number of the people in those figures.

If the infection rate remains low, the Government has indicated pubs, cafes, restaurants, camping sites and even caravan parks and hotels may be able to reopen in some form from July, in time for the main holiday season. With uncertainty surrounding flights abroad, there are high hopes many people could decide to holiday in Britain giving the industry a much-needed boost.

Malvern Hills District Council's tourism team has been working on a number of short-term activities to help businesses in the visitor economy through the immediate crisis. The staff at Malvern Hills Tourism Information Centre pulled together lists of businesses offering home delivery services and safe collections during the outbreak. More information can be found on the Visit The Malverns website.

The council has also paid out more than £16million of business support payments, including to many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector.

Longer-term, the council is finalising its new visitor economy action plan which will set out more ambitious projects to help give tourism in the district a more strategic direction and further boost visitor number.

Cllr Beverley Nielsen, responsible for tourism on Malvern Hills District Council, said: "Tourism is a vital part of our local economy and so many livelihoods depend on it. The tourism industry will have to adapt, certainly in the short-term, to a new way of doing things while we wait to see if we will find a vaccine or a treatment for this terrible virus.

"We stand ready to do whatever we can to support our tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses to make that transition. We want the Malverns to be a safe, healthy and open place to visit and we look forward to welcoming people to explore all we have to offer when we are able to do so." 

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