Destination Management Organisations from across the country have joined together to back a campaign encouraging government to ensure the tourism sector is supported through winter 2020.

Last month a petition was launched by Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale alongside Cumbria Tourism, asking visitors, businesses and partners to show their backing for a government winter support package. The petition has quickly gained momentum including support from cross party politicians as well as National Park leaders. Now, Destination Management Organisations the length and breadth of the country are adding their weight.

Malcolm Bell, Managing Director of Visit Cornwall said: “Hospitality and tourism is critical to our local economy, here in Cornwall one in three private sector jobs are in the visitor economy and this crisis has been devastating to thousands of businesses. Having lost most of the 2020 season and summer trade though welcome is only going to be damage limitation as these businesses are now facing three winters in a row.”

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The Tourism industry in Yorkshire is worth £9billion and employs 225,000 people. It is a huge part of the Yorkshire economy and as England’s biggest county we are able to attract huge numbers of domestic and international tourists coming for our countryside and coast, national parks and vibrant cities, history and heritage as well as our arts and cultural offering. We stand shoulder to shoulder with every other major DMO in the country in the request for support so that we can provide the support and confidence to thousands of businesses struggling now and give them the opportunity to survive this period and return to profit when the sector returns to its former position.”

Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Marketing Liverpool, added: “As destination management organisations we have worked together to support businesses over the last four months and more and it is clear that what all of our businesses have in common is the urgent need for confirmation of an extension of existing government support into the winter. This will provide the confidence to businesses who are struggling to make their businesses viable and give them a chance to be able to stand on their own two feet again next Spring.”

Peak District and Derbyshire Managing Director Jo Dilly said: “The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on the Peak District and Derbyshire’s £2.3 billion visitor economy, and our hard-hit tourism and hospitality businesses have already missed out on a large part of the critical summer season. Whilst many businesses are eager to reopen, the restrictions in place mean it will be difficult for them to sustain their offer as they all juggle financial viability with limits on capacity and levels of investment to adapt their business. Without a winter package of long-term financial support, many businesses and associated jobs will simply not survive.”

Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “We have been very grateful for the government support made available to date, however, too many of our businesses are still falling through the gaps and some have already sadly had to close. We have to secure a longer term package of support to make sure that all the effort these businesses have put in to weather the initial storm isn’t simply wasted as they struggle through the winter.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director from Marketing Manchester highlighted: “City destinations are also facing a very tough period ahead: hotels in Manchester are forecasting a slump to 30% occupancy levels through the autumn and winter, when they would normally trade at 80%. This will have a massive impact on the wider Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure economy, as cities are often the gateway for visitors to explore the wider region. It is therefore vital that Government provides destination organisations with an appropriate package of support that enables them to address local issues and priorities.”

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “I’m massively grateful to tourism leaders from right across the country for adding their support to the campaign. This is very much a national issue with hospitality currently the UK’s 4th biggest employer. I am in regular conversation with MPs from across the House about gathering cross-party support so we can continue to push the Government to help this crucial industry through the winter.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism said: “Throughout this crisis, Cumbria Tourism and our fellow Destination Management partners across the country have worked tirelessly to support tens of thousands of businesses. We share a common understanding not only of the challenges these businesses face but also the critical importance they play to local economies and place. That is why we are uniting in our call to government to work with us to help ensure businesses can survive, save jobs and be able to play a strong part in the UK’s economic recovery.”

ENDS