Hopes staycations will bring boost for tourism industry hit by Covid
The county's councils are uniting in a bid to lead Shropshire's post-pandemic tourism recovery – amid suggestions that local operators could benefit from a huge rise in 'staycations'.
Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils say they will be working with businesses to draw up a 'respond and reset' action plan for how to set up after the Coronavirus crisis is over.
One of the measures being looked at is a "traffic-light" approach to support for businesses to prepare for the lifting of regulations.
The intention is to provide reassurance the county is safe to visit.
The announcement comes at the beginning of English Tourism Week.
Tourism has been a key part of the county economy, with flagship destinations such as the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, Shropshire Hills AONB, Ludlow and Shrewsbury, helping to attract more than 13 million visitors and generate around £800 million per year.
Those figures have been obliterated in 2020, with the industry effectively shut down by coronavirus, and prior to the pandemic county many were hugely impacted by weeks of the worst flooding seen in years.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for culture, said: “This collaboration marks a positive step forward in the recovery of the county’s tourism sector. There is still a lot of work to do to give our business community confidence, but ensuring the safety of our local communities and future visitors must be the number one priority to ensure sustainable recovery.
“By collaborating with colleagues in Telford & Wrekin working with Shropshire businesses, we will be able to coordinate one clear journey of recovery and position the tourism sector to flourish once the coronavirus lockdown restrictions of lifted. All of us in Shropshire look forward to welcoming back visitors when we can, but the time is not now.”
Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member tourism, said: “We are proud to have such a vibrant and valuable visitor economy and this marks an important milestone in the recovery of the sector.
“Now is the time to build on our excellence in destination management and work with our counterparts in Shropshire to have one voice which will develop a clear road map to recovery.”
The councils said they will also work with a number of tourism associations including Visit Shropshire, Visit Shropshire Hills, Love Bridgnorth, Love Wellington, Shrewsbury BID, Ludlow Destination Partnership, Discover Shropshire and Telford, Shropshire Festivals, Oswestry Borderland Tourism, Oswestry BID and Visit Church Stretton.