Visit Herts’ latest Tourism Economic Impact Study, published last week, shows that before the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the county’s visitor economy had topped £2.4 billion for the first time ever, welcoming a record 29 million visitors in 2019.
Independent research commissioned by Hertfordshire’s official Destination Management Organisation has revealed that £139 million was spent on average in the local economy each month in 2019, as a direct result of the county’s tourism and hospitality industry.
The number of tourism jobs across the county showed an 8% increase between 2017 and 2019, to 43,390, accounting for 7% of total employment in Hertfordshire last year.
Using the industry-respected Cambridge Economic Impact Model, the study 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 Hertfordshire’s latest Economic Impact findings not only provides a detailed picture of the significant value and importance the county’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 an extremely useful vehicle in aiding the recovery of the industry.
This latest research shows that the value of Hertfordshire’s tourism and hospitality industry was on a positive trajectory in 2019 and overall, the county performed better than the wider East of England region. Visit Herts’ strong network of existing public and private partnerships, together with successful placemaking development since its launch in 2015, allowed the county’s Destination Management Organisation to respond quickly in the face of the current pandemic, collaborating closely with partners on a programme of activity that aims to aid the destination’s recovery.
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 and is delivered through the Crowdfunder Pay it Forward platform.
The recovery of Hertfordshire’s visitor economy will be further supported by funding recently secured by Visit Herts as part of VisitEngland’s ‘Escape the Everyday’: Destination Management Organisations’ Marketing Recovery Fund.
Escape the Everyday will provide an opportunity for Visit Herts to deliver local marketing activity, focusing on Hertfordshire’s fantastic 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.
Click to view the full Hertfordshire Tourism Economic Impact Study 2019.