The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s commitment to supporting the recovery of the county’s visitor economy has continued as it backs a month-long event, aimed at providing guidance to the sector’s many businesses and attractions.
Throughout October and November, OxLEP are supporting the county’s destination management organisation Experience Oxfordshire and their ‘Insights from the Experts’ conference. The event sees a number of industry experts provide advice and first-hand thoughts to Oxfordshire’s visitor economy businesses, as they continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
The conference began this week and will see sessions delivered by the likes of Digital Visitor, China Travel Outbound and Visit England.
Prior to the pandemic, the visitor economy was worth around 10 per cent of the overall GVA for Oxfordshire, totalling around £2.3bn per annum – however, according to a report released by Experience Oxfordshire in late-April, it was thought visitor economy businesses in the county were initially losing anywhere between £112.5million and £137.5million per month as a direct result of the pandemic.
Oxfordshire’s visitor economy also provided around 40,000 jobs, prior to Coronavirus.
Ahmed Goga – Director of Strategy at OxLEP – said: “Coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation and will cause concern and disruption to visitor economy-focused businesses for the foreseeable future.
“With this in mind, it’s really important for OxLEP to continue to both promote and support our magnificent visitor economy and the invaluable work of Experience Oxfordshire.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, OxLEP has provided significant and sustained support to the county’s visitor economy, administering both financial and business-to-business support.
Just under 200 visitor economy businesses have so far received personalised business support plans from OxLEP Business, with a further 173 businesses completing the organisation’s online business support tool, which both triages and offers advice on the type of support available in-light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 25 visitor economy-led organisations, based in Oxfordshire, also received financial support during the summer via OxLEP Business’ business resilience grant scheme. Meanwhile, a quarter of all current sign-ups to OxLEP Business’ most-recent business support offer – the peer network programme – operate within the visitor economy sector.
OxLEP’s culture and visitor economy sub-group – which aims to promote the county’s arts, culture and heritage assets – continues to meet regularly in-light of the pandemic and includes representation from many of the county’s key visitor attractions including; Bicester Village (pictured above), Modern Art Oxford and the University of Oxford Museums.
Ahmed Goga added: “With the present Government regulations, our visitor economy – and in particular, those operating across hospitality and cultural offerings – need a greater level of support to boost their recovery, maintain jobs and indeed preserve one of the finest sectors we have in the county. One that we all enjoy and hope will flourish again in the very near future.”
The ‘Insights from the Experts’ programme started on 13 October and will continue through to 3 November.