A new survey has revealed how the leisure and tourism sector is seen as vital to the South West economy.
We asked 438 people living in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire for their views on the sector’s importance, the impact of Covid-19 and how they feel about getting out and about this autumn and winter.
According to our poll, 94% believe the leisure and tourism sector is important to the local economy, with 68% regarding it as very important. There is also widespread recognition of the impact Covid-19 has had on local leisure and tourism businesses, with 84% describing it as major or severe.
When it comes to what can be done to support these businesses, 76% backed the idea of a campaign to give the sector a boost.
The poll – carried out before the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan was unveiled – also found 54% believed the Government should be doing more to support the leisure and tourism sector to protect jobs and the local economy, while 34% thought it was doing enough. Last week, Rishi Sunak announced an extension of the temporary 15% VAT cut for spending on tourism and hospitality until the end of March 2021.
The survey was commissioned by PKF Francis Clark and conducted by PFA Research between Thursday, September 10, and Friday, September 18, 2020.
Asked about their own plans, 53% of people said they feel confident, fairly confident or very confident to get out and about to visit leisure and tourism businesses this autumn and winter. However, 32% were not very confident and 13% not at all confident, suggesting that reduced visitor numbers are likely to remain a challenge for many businesses.
The survey also revealed the places in our region that we’re looking forward to revisiting the most, with 68% of respondents eager to get back to their favourite food and drink venues, 65% keen to explore the great outdoors, 36% longing for a holiday or short break and 33% excited about visiting tourist attractions, family entertainment and arts venues.
It was fantastic to see 69% saying they would be happy to support a local campaign by recommending places to visit on social media. You can do this by posting a photo of your favourite leisure and tourism businesses on Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #ShareaSmileSW. Don’t forget to tag them!