Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden visited West Sussex visitor attractions on Tuesday to hear the challenges faced by the tourism industry and to highlight the Enjoy Summer Safely Campaign.
The Secretary of State for Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport took part in a round-table discussion with business leaders at Butlin’s Resort in Bognor Regis, focusing on:
- the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector
- how summer is going so far and the measures being taken to keep visitors safe
- the ways the Government can help the industry in the coming months.
Cllr Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “Tourism is such an important sector for the West Sussex economy, supporting more than 37,000 jobs. We were pleased to highlight to the Secretary of State the hard work of the Experience West Sussex Destination Partnership – hosted by the County Council – in supporting businesses and consumer confidence to ensure we can enjoy summer safely.
“We also welcomed the opportunity to discuss wider challenges faced by many of our attractions and businesses due to the impact of Covid-19.”
Nigel Lynn, chairman of Experience West Sussex Destination Partnership and chief executive of Arun District Council, said: “Tourism has been particularly hard hit because of its obvious seasonality, with the coastal areas being an essential economic driver to the county. With the recent announcement of a confirmed recession, we know that the coastal towns are already badly affected by this.
“Recent Experience West Sussex forecasts (June 2020) indicate a decline of 59 per cent for visits in 2020 and a drop of £10.6bn in visitor spend.
“We are really pleased that the Secretary of State understands the value of tourism to West Sussex. It has given Experience West Sussex and Arun District Council an opportunity to highlight issues and ask directly for support which will help to build the tourism offer for our Coastal areas in the future.”
The Secretary of State’s day visit to the south coast started at Portchester Castle, followed by Cobnor Activities Centre at Chichester Harbour, and then Butlin’s Resort, Bognor Regis, for the round-table discussion arranged by the Experience West Sussex Destination Partnership.
Discussion participants included: Cllr Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council Clcabinet member for economy, Nigel Lynn, chairman of Experience West Sussex Destination Partnership and chief executive of Arun District Council, Cllr Dr. James Walsh, Arun District Council leader of the council and cabinet member for economy, Jon Hendry-Pickup, managing director, Butlin’s Resort, Bognor Regis, Kathy Bourne, executive director Chichester Festival Theatre, Paul Bromley, communications director, Bluebell Railway, Caroline Wood, director Coastal West Sussex Partnership, Andrew Lee, director of Countryside Policy and Management South Downs National Park Authority.