To provide an overview of the planning for recovery of the Authority’s tourism and events sector.
The Sub-Committee received a report on the Tourism and Events Sector services recovery planning.
The period since the first lockdown in March 2020, through to the current easing of restrictions on service delivery, had been especially challenging for the tourism industry. The entire hospitality sector had struggled with the uncertainty of lockdowns and visitor hesitancy around returning to indoor venues, along with safety concerns relating to major events.
Services within the sector had been able to operate sporadically, when lockdown restrictions had been eased, allowing for some access to tourism attractions. More recently, with a greater push for people to holiday in the UK, the domestic tourism industry had begun to see a degree of recovery.
While the planned the Events programme for the Summer in North Tyneside had been significantly reduced, including the postponement for two consecutive years of the Mouth of the Tyne Festival, a range of smaller scale events had continued and helped support town centre economic recovery.
The Government guidance on restrictions during the pandemic had been used in the compilation of the report and could be viewed via the following website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The Operational Manager, Tourism and Events, presented an overview covering how tourism and events had survived over the period of the Covid-19 pandemic and current planning for a return to business as usual, including:
· Pre-Covid – 6 million visitors annually and rising; visitor spend and rising (£340m); over 4,000 visitor economy jobs; vast majority were day visitors; and half a million stay overnight.
· Short-term Covid impact 2020 – 2.9m visitors (down 53.4% on 2019), £151m visitor spend (down £197m); 2,197 jobs at risk; and 177k overnight visitors (down 66%). Food and drink sector – 30% of all expenditure and 33% of all employment; business support grants / furlough.
· Actions – Event cancellations; Public Health / Safety Advisory Group (SAG); Covid-secure events; Positive messaging; Cross-council Town Centre; and Recovery: -
· Spanish City Funfair – strict site capacity for social distancing.
· Snowman and Snowdog Trail – world premiere.
· Summer 2021 recovery events – examples included North Tyneside Together, Fiesta, Special appearance from The Gruffalo and Cirque Du Hilarious.
· Autumn / Winter recovery events – examples included Whitley Bay 2021 Carnival, Big Halloween pumpkin trail, Aardman Animations trail, Bedford Street / Killingworth markets, September Sounds in Wallsend.
· Tourism Activity – Visit North Tyneside; Product development with NTCA (active pursuits, food and drink, winter escapes); NTCA events programme; Cruise Tourism Partnership; and Town Centre support.
The sub-committee was invited to put forward comments and also examined a number of areas of the Events and Tourism Service recovery planning presentation. These included the following:
· Working on water sports promotions in Cullercoats including paddle boarding, Northerly Swell cycle hire, shaping and lighting aspirations for surfing at Tynemouth and around the country – noting the park-and-walk arrangements from Beaconsfield Park at St. George’s Church being considered for this event only.
· An infrastructure which was previously a surfer’s industry, and was suggested that the money raised from activities could potentially be used instead for changing facilities.
· The operator trialling events for Bedford Street Market which was currently under review by North Tyneside Council on the feasibility of introducing mid-week markets, subject to local consultations. Similarly, Killingworth Market could also be looked at but possibly with a younger demographic.
· The promotion of Waggonways in the northwest area of the borough and how these could be linked with local villages.
The Chair, on behalf of the Sub-Committee, thanked the Operations Manager for Tourism and Events for his informative presentation and acknowledged the work done in delivering the Authority’s services during these difficult times.
It was agreed that the report and presentation on the delivery of Tourism and Events over the period of the covid pandemic and current planning for a return to business as usual, be noted.