Discover Rutland, the county’s independent destination management organisation, has highlighted the positive impact tourism has on the local economy ahead of what they hope to be another fantastic season for staycations.
Statistics from STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) show that in 2019, tourism generated £142m in Rutland and supported just under 1,800 jobs.
With an announcement expected from the Government next week as to when and how businesses can start to reopen, Discover Rutland is poised to respond appropriately on behalf of its members and drive the tourism economy forward again.
Chairman of Discover Rutland, Jason Allen, who owns The Fox pub in North Luffenham and The Paddock campsite overlooking Rutland Water said: “There have been quite a few mixed messages from the Government over the last couple of weeks as to whether or not tourism businesses will be allowed to reopen in the Spring.
“This week – half term – is usually busier but Easter sets a precedent for the rest of the year. We need a clear direction by then.”
Throughout the pandemic, Rutland’s Coronavirus cases have been lower than the national average, with the county even becoming a Tier 2 “island” on Boxing Day, making it a meme that was shared extensively on social media and highlighting the area as somewhere safe and off the beaten track.
Discover Rutland has continued to support members throughout the pandemic by taking part in VisitBritain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ and ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaigns and Rutland Steady Cook, sharing recipes from eateries across the county. As a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers and funded mainly from membership fees, all income is ploughed back into promoting the county.
Tourism Officer, Mary Copley said: “I think the lower cases in Rutland are testament to the hard work and measures businesses in the county have put in place to protect residents in the last year.
“We have seen many tourism businesses adapt to takeaways, deliveries and food-only options in line with guidance but despite the fantastic support of the community, it’s not a sustainable business model.”
Jason added: “Like many pubs in the area, we haven’t opened our doors since October as restrictions on serving food and alcohol would have meant operating at a loss. As an industry, we need some reassurance that we can reopen without further restrictions this tourist season. The county’s economy and hundreds of people’s jobs are depending on it.”
In 2019, the county attracted just shy of 2m tourists which many of the shops, pubs and attractions rely on throughout the year.
Mary said: “As a rural county, Rutland is the ideal spot for a socially distanced staycation. We’ve got some exciting plans for the season ahead, including wider promotion of the new Rutland Food and Drink Map.
“I am confident that whatever roadmap the Government announces next week, tourism businesses in Rutland will prosper and Discover Rutland will be there to support our members every step of the way, safely and responsibly.”
*Stats based on 2019 Steam Report. The report can be read in full here: https://www.discover-rutland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/RUT-Final-STEAM-Report-2009-2019-04-Nov-20-CC.pdf
About Discover Rutland
Discover Rutland is an independent DMO for the county of Rutland made up of a board of volunteers from the county who are passionate about promoting the area and represent members locally, nationally and internationally.
As a not-for-profit all money from memberships goes back into promotion and strategy.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk