English Tourism Week is an annual celebration – which took place this year between Saturday, 30th March and Sunday, 7th April - that showcases the world-class sites and experiences that England has to offer tourists from all over the UK and all around the world. I took part in many events to celebrate tourism in both Northamptonshire and in London.
On Friday, 5th April I attended Northamptonshire Surprise’s Launch for their year of Food and Drink, hosted at Rockingham Castle.
Northamptonshire Surprise are a great organisation which promote all of the great visitor attractions here in our county. This year they will be focusing on supporting the food and drink industry and showcasing what Northamptonshire has to offer. There are many tourist gems here in Northamptonshire and I regularly visit local tourist sites to support the local jobs that the sector creates.
On Wednesday, 27th March I chaired the bi-annual Tourism Industry Council meeting in London, which is a collaboration between Government and senior figures in the tourism industry designed to be a pro-active forum to help support the industry with action on jobs, transport and deregulation. Attendees included leaders of Airlines UK, Expedia, AirBnb, UK Hospitality and the B&B Association amongst many others. I am pleased with the productive discussion we had which focused on talks about a ‘Tourism Sector Deal’ – which would be a Government funded and led comprehensive strategy in order to support growth in the tourism sector.
On Monday, 1st April I gave a speech at the official English Tourism Week conference, held in The Royal Air Force Club, to an audience of leading figures in the sector. I spoke of the importance of Tourism as a sector which continues to grow. Tourism directly contributes £68 billion a year to the economy and directly employs 1.6 million people. Recent figures have shown that in the year 2017, 136 million people visited top attractions in this country – a near 10% rise on the previous year.
Later in the week, I held a drop-in session for all MPs to come and speak to me and the Chief Executive of VisitEngland in order to learn more about the tourism sector and what they can do to support their local tourist attractions in their constituencies. Over 40 MPs from across the political spectrum visited!
You can learn more about English Tourism Week by watching my short video marking the start of the week: https://twitter.com/DCMS/status/1111934215732555776.