Tourism gets £2.2m boost to lure back visitors and save jobs
PUBLISHED: 11:30 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 30 July 2020
A £2.2m package has been launched to support tourist businesses in Norfolk as they aim to lure back visitors following the coronavirus crisis.
With tourism one of the key industries in the county, Norfolk County Council in partnership with all seven district councils and Visit East of England, have agreed extra funding to help businesses and attractions to recover.
The project, being funded through from the Norfolk Strategic Fund, will focus on making Norfolk as safe as possible to reassure both visitors to the county and local residents.
MORE: Rural Norfolk and Suffolk ‘worst hit’ by coronavirus jobs crisis
Immediate measures will include improving the presentation, cleanliness and hygiene of key locations and better communication to holidaymakers and daytrippers, both in advance and during their visits, for example, through the use of marshalls.
A small grants programme is also being developed to support the costs of businesses adapting to the ‘new normal’ and making the changes needed to extend the key holiday season after months of disruption.
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.
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“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.”
Funding will be allocated to each district council and Visit East of England with the aim of boosting the visitor experience whilst still maintaining coronavirus public health messages like social distancing.
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Business owners have warned an upturn in tourist numbers in the remainder of the summer holiday period could be crucial for the sector.
Malcolm Grey, who owns a string of tourism dependent businesses in Wroxham, said: “We have lost a lot of time, business is probably half what we would expect and we won’t know until the end of the year how much of that we will be able to make up.”
Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East of England, said: “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.
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