Tourism minister visits the Cotswolds
By Sarah Wood | 6th July 2020
Tourism in the Cotswolds received a welcome boost at the weekend, thanks to a visit by tourism minister Nigel Huddleston MP.
His visit coincided with the reopening of many pubs, restaurants and museums, at a time when Cotswold tourism businesses are facing one of the toughest periods in their history.
Tourism in the Cotswolds is worth around £1 billion to the local economy and has been hit hard by the global Covid-19 pandemic, so this was an important opportunity for Mr Huddleston to discover more about how business has been affected.
He chose to visit less well known attractions - in particular those who've worked with Cotswolds Tourism on their Uncover the Cotswolds project. Launched in 2019 following a successful bid from the government's Discover England Fund, the project worked with lesser known tourism businesses on how to work with the lucrative inbound travel trade.
After a visit to Cogges Manor Farm in Oxfordshire, Mr Huddleston was given a brief tour of the High Street in Chipping Campden, where he met Sarah and Michael Alexiou of Woolmarket House bed and breakfast to hear first-hand from those affected by the pandemic.
His final stop of the day was at Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh, where he explored the arboretum to see what changes the attraction has had to make to be ready to open up to visitors again. He also met Eddie Dale of Cotswolds Tours and Travel, who represented Cotswold tour operators - one of the worst hit tourism sectors, to find out how the government could potentially help.
The minister said: "I was delighted to visit the Cotswolds to mark the reopening of the country's tourism sector this weekend. Across the country, the tourism industry will play an important part in the recovery - supporting jobs, businesses and driving local growth. The Cotswolds has so much to offer from historic houses to stunning scenery and I want to encourage everyone to explore the fantastic offerings on their doorstep and beyond, but most importantly to enjoy summer safely."
Sally Graff and Sophy Long from Cotswold Tourism accompanied the visit. They said: "We were delighted to meet the minister and explain to him about the incredible and diverse experiences available throughout the year here in the Cotswolds. As a key tourism organisation, we know it is important for the industry to encourage off-peak visits throughout the rest of the year, especially now businesses are able to reopen. We are working hard to support the businesses to be Covid-ready, using the Visit England industry standard We're Good to Go.
"We all appreciated the time the minister has spent in The Cotswolds today and look forward to welcoming him again soon."
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