Wakefield Council will consider plan to rescue district's tourism industry
Plans to help the tourist industry in Wakefield to recover from the pandemic are to be considered by senior councillors.
Tourism in the district is responsible for 9,000 local jobs, with the sector generating £507.2 million in income in 2019, and supporting 755 food and drinks businesses.
At a cabinet meeting on March 16, members will discuss the council setting up and delivering a tourism recovery plan to help sustain businesses across the sector, many of which have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to safeguard jobs and opportunities for local people.
Councillors will also be asked to agree support for the longer-term growth of the tourism sector, driven through a destination management plan to increase the opportunities for new businesses and jobs in the sector and secure additional visitor spend to support the local economy.
Coun Jacquie Speight cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Our tourism sector matters in so many ways, not only through supplying employment to thousands of people but also in providing residents and communities with many leisure and learning opportunities.
“It has been a very difficult time for the industry across the country including in our district. But we will recover and I am pleased that we can look forward and plan ahead for a brighter future, as part of our district’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The district is a great place not just for business but also for lifestyle, with access to some of the country’s best cultural assets like, The Hepworth and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We have a fantastic city, towns and communities, breath taking Yorkshire landscape, leading businesses, great brands, history and heritage – with so many stories to tell.
“We want to support the development of new jobs, skills and business opportunities that will all in turn make our district not only a better place to visit, but also a great place to live.”
The tourism recovery plan, will include working with key partners and stakeholders to promote the district, using marketing and communication to highlight all the district has to offer. It will support the recovery of communities - through engagement with local activities and businesses.
Councillors will be asked to approve the Draft Tourism Recovery Plan and £78.5k funding to support its delivery. This would support the Cabinet’s decision, made in September, for £78,547 from the xouncil’s share of the 2019/20 business rates pool surplus to be used to support tourism in the district.
The tourism recovery plan was developed with strong connections to the district’s economic strategy and is linked to the new Inward Investment Strategy by helping businesses increase their own competitiveness and allowing them to generate social and economic value.
A longer-term destination management plan will be developed for the district later in the year, once the initial recovery of the sector is underway.
Members of Wakefield’s Cabinet are meeting virtually on Tuesday, March 16 at 10.30am to discuss the plans. The meeting can be watched live or later