The Tourism and Destination Marketing Portfolio is led by Inverclyde Council and brings together a number of partners including all our Local Authorities, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.
The Portfolio Group collaborated on a Regional Tourism Strategy, 2018 – 2023, published in June 2018. A three-year Action Plan supported the strategy and aimed to increase visitors to the City Region by 1 million per year.
The Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Culture sectors have been hardest hit as a result of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Visitor numbers and bookings have plummeted both from overseas and domestically through restrictions on international travel and a strong Stay at Home message from Government.
The UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and numerous grants and concessions for businesses have been inundated with applications form businesses in the tourism and related sectors and have been a lifeline for many businesses. Up to 80% of all employees supported through the CJRS work in Hospitality, Retail, Culture and Tourism. However, for many businesses this will not be enough and it is widely expected that we will see widespread permanent closures and large scale redundancies.
Our Tourism Strategy and Action Plan is currently being reviewed. A revised short-term Action Plan will be launched in the summer with a strong focus on marketing and recovery. It is anticipated the Regional Strategy will be refreshed in 2022 to reflect the national tourism strategy Scotland Outlook 2030 and national Recovery Plan.
The Glasgow City Region Intelligence Hub recently undertook a review of Retail and High Streets across the Region. The report highlights existing trends in the way that we shop which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. We have already seen the permanent closure of many retail brands and the move by others to abandon high cost physical outlets in our town and city centres in favour of online sales and distribution. The report argues that these physical changes in our town and city centres has a broader physical effect on our and visitors’ sense of place.
Key Priorities for the Tourism and Destination Marketing Portfolio in 2021, includes
- An increased focus on place marketing and how we attract visitors to the Glasgow City Region areas; we have developed a specialist delivery group to lead this work supported by Visit Scotland.
- Clear understanding of the full impact of COVID and Brexit on the sectors and delivery of targeted, collaborative interventions that drive and support recovery.
- A focus on skills – working with the industry to identify skills gaps and to develop appropriate and effective solutions; work with the national skills agency and the GCR Skills and Employment Portfolio to deliver upskilling, reskilling and new entrant training.
- Maximise the impact of COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021 and develop strategies to maximise the impact of future large-scale events for all of the City Region.
- Support the industry to develop and implement Fair Work First.
- Set out a critical path for refreshing the City Region Tourism Strategy and Action Plan from April 2022.