Agenda item

Destination Plymouth Progress Report on Visitor Plan 2030


Councillor Mark Deacon (Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport), Councillor Nick Kelly (Leader), David Draffan (Service Director for Economic Development) and Amanda Lumley (Executive Director, Destination Plymouth) presented the report which highlighted the following key areas –



the Visitor Plan 2030 would enable Plymouth’s residents to benefit from the visitor economy, supporting quality job retention and creation; whilst also enabling Plymothians to take full advantage of the City’s rich history, heritage and unique environment, by promoting opportunities for education, health and wellbeing and pride;




the Visitor Plan 2030 was formally adopted in March 2020 (just one week prior to the first Covid lockdown); since the start of the pandemic things had changed significantly with the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector being one of the hardest hit nationally and internationally; together with the UK’s departure from the EU this had led to a significant economic shock and longer term challenges as the economy started to recover;




2020 data showed the significant impact of Covid19 with a loss of 54% of visits down to 2,436,000 and 56% of visitor spend down to £148,436,000; up to 2019, the growth of tourism and the visitor economy had been a great success story for the City with over 25% growth since 2010; from just under four million visitors to 5.2 million in 2019, spending over £327m annually and supporting nearly 8,000 jobs, over 7% of the City’s employment;




it was too early to calculate how well the sector had recovered through the early part of 2021 however, early data showed that although the first half of the year was still well below 2019 levels

(-£89,206,509 from January to May), it recovered in the latter part of the year (+£12,290,061 from June to September 2021); this was very positive and it was anticipated that by year-end there would have been a significant recovery towards 2019 pre-Covid visitor numbers and spend in the City;




this would not have been possible without significant support from the Council’s grants team giving out Government Covid19 grant funding to businesses and the cross city partnership working between Destination Plymouth and the two Business Improvement Districts (City Centre Company and Waterfront Partnership) to support, promote and help businesses to recover.


The Committee –



sought clarification -





on what considerations had been given to the environmental impact of growing the visitor numbers, the treatment of the City’s facilities (as evidence during the lock down on the Barbican) and whether there would be sufficient accommodation to meet these needs;






as to the risk of the future funding of Destination Plymouth in order to deliver the Visitor Plan for 2030 and the unusual ask of a Scrutiny Committee to support the lobbying of local MPs;






on the level of businesses that had been lost due to the pandemic and an indication of the level of recovery;






as to whether there were any proposals to formally constitute the Great South West Tourism Partnership;






whether the structural sectoral changes would take place and whether these could have any implications for partnership working in the South West;





considered that -






given the importance of tourism to the City, this matter should be considered by Scrutiny on a more regular basis (six monthly).


The Chair advised that it was important to communicate to the local MPs how important tourism was to the City (the City had lost 54% of visits and had seen a significant reduction in visitor spend) in supporting nearly 8,000 jobs which was over 7% of the City’s employment and contributed over £300m annually (pre-Covid) to the economy.


The Committee agreed the following recommendations –



continue to support Destination Plymouth to lead delivery of the plan working with wider City stakeholders and partners;




recognise the significant achievements of the Destination Plymouth, Plymouth City Council and BID teams in supporting the sector to recover post Covid 19;




support the sector ‘asks’ to government through local MPs;




that the Visitor Plan 2030 be included on the Committee’s work programme (to be reviewed on a six monthly basis) due to the importance of the tourism sector for the City;




the Chair and Vice Chair write to the local MPs highlighting the significance of delivering the Visitor Plan 2030 for the City.


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