Independent tourism research highlights how vital the tourism sector was for Dacorum, before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be used to form Dacorum Borough Council’s tourism action plan.
Visit Herts’ latest Tourism Economic Impact study shows that:
- Dacorum’s visitor economy was valued at £287 million after welcoming 3.6 million visitors in 2019.
- £17 million was spent on average in the local economy each month in 2019, as a direct result of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.
- The number of tourism jobs across the district showed a seven per cent increase between 2017 and 2019, to 4,831, accounting for six per cent of Dacorum’s total employment last year.
The Independent research commissioned by Hertfordshire’s official Destination Management Organisation measured the volume and value of tourism across the county in 2019, and the impact of visits and visitor expenditure on the local economy.
The release of the findings provides a detailed picture of the significant affect the district’s tourism and hospitality sector had on the region’s wider economy in 2019, but also establishes a benchmark from which to measure the impact of COVID-19, and will be used in aiding the recovery of the industry.
Dacorum Borough Council, which has been supporting businesses throughout the pandemic with grants and free advice and support, are now working on a tourism action plan to support the industry going forward. This includes creating a forum with local tourism and hospitality businesses to identify key issues and developing an app to encourage residents to support local business and visitor attractions along with tourism and heritage trails.
The Council has appointed two new Economic Development Officers, one of which will focus on tourism and hospitality, will work closely with Visit Herts to promote the borough over future months. The service will continue to work with businesses and residents across the board to give retraining opportunities to people that may have or will be at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
Cllr Graham Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure, said: ‘The results of the independent study show how essential the visitor economy was to Dacorum before the COVID-19 pandemic and the thriving tourism industry that we benefit from. As a council, we are now focusing on the future economic recovery of Dacorum and will work with businesses and the tourism industry to highlight how much the borough has to offer.’
Launched in May 2020, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Visit Herts are currently working in partnership to offer small and micro businesses within the tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts, and cultural sectors the chance to unlock between £2,000 and £5,000 in match funding to help overcome the challenges of COVID-19. The £200,000 Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund is currently being administered by Visit Herts.
The recovery of Hertfordshire’s visitor economy will be further supported by funding recently secured by Visit Herts as part of Visit England’s ‘Escape the Everyday’: Destination Management Organisations’ Marketing Recovery Fund.
Escape the Everyday will provide an opportunity to deliver local marketing activity, focusing on Hertfordshire’s local produce and outdoor experiences, which aligns closely to the UK-wide domestic tourism campaign. The campaign aims to support the industry to recover by encouraging consumers to explore, discover and treat themselves to a short break when COVID-19 related restrictions allow, and when they are ready to travel.