18 March, 2022
Cheltenham took centre stage this week as spectators returned for the Cheltenham Festival for the first time in two years.
And with this week also marking the start of English Tourism Week, we were delighted to welcome Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP to Cheltenham and an opportunity to meet with key stakeholders from the town.
Coordinated by VisitEngland, English Tourism Week, which runs from 18-27 March, is a national celebration of the country’s £100 billion+ tourism industry. As the traditional tourism season gets underway, it highlights the importance of tourism to local economies, promoting the quality of products and services on offer to boost domestic breaks, and shining a light on the wide range of career opportunities within the sector.
Last week many of Cheltenham’s leading visitor economy businesses also joined the Marketing Cheltenham team to say ‘You’re Welcome’ to the 275,000 visitors arriving in the town over race week – and the almost 2.5 million visitors that Cheltenham hopes to welcome back in 2022.
Cllr Victoria Atherstone, cabinet member of culture, wellbeing & business, said: ‘’Cheltenham has been bustling with visitors at this year’s Festival having welcomed in the region of 275,000 people. A very different feel to last year when the event was held behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
From hotels and restaurants to taxi drivers and shops, the economic ripple effect from the festival week extends far beyond the racecourse and even Cheltenham itself. We’re working hard with partners to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience in the town as we welcome back visitors to our Festival Town.’’
Pre-pandemic, tourism spending in Cheltenham brought more than £200 million into the town’s economy. With this year’s Festival, it is estimated that the economic impact to Cheltenham and Gloucestershire as a whole could exceed £100 million.
Of course, The Festival is just one of more than 30 major events that attract visitors to Cheltenham each year, with the Cheltenham Literature, Music, Jazz and Science Festivals highlighting just why Cheltenham is also known at The Festival Town.
Andrew Stokes, director of VisitEngland said: “English Tourism Week shines the spotlight on an industry which supports millions of jobs and local economies right across England. As well as encouraging people to discover and explore the outstanding tourism products, destinations and experiences right here on our doorstep.
“This year, the week is also dedicated to supporting our industry as it rebuilds, showing that it is open and ready to welcome visitors back to the experiences they have missed during the pandemic.
“We’re also using the week to highlight the range and variety of jobs across the industry and to encourage people to consider a career in tourism. From tour operating, destination marketing, hospitality and hotel management to business events, visitor attractions and policy development, our people-focused sector has a huge amount to offer employees.”
Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism, heritage and civil society, shared a similar sentiment: “English Tourism Week celebrates the enormous contribution our brilliant tourism sector makes to the economy and I’m looking forward to supporting this year’s events.
“I encourage people to explore the huge range of opportunities available – from finding a new and rewarding career to exploring the exciting range of experiences, events and destinations on offer.”
David Jackson, Marketing Cheltenham Manager added “We know that throughout the year our visitors provide a vital boost to the local economy, supporting over 3,000 jobs in the sector and far more across the wider supply chains. What’s more, the qualities that make somewhere a great place to visit naturally contribute to creating a sense of place and desirability. Tourism – and destination marketing therefore – can play a really important role in helping to shape somewhere that people not only want to visit but also to live and work too.”
As an industry, the visitor economy is worth more than £100 billion in England alone, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses and employing around 2.6 million people. By 2025, it is expected that tourism will be worth 10% of England’s GDP.
In the lead-up to English Tourism Week and throughout VisitEngland is encouraging people to show support for English tourism on social media by using #EnglishTourismWeek22. VisitEngland is also calling for businesses and destinations to get involved in the week with a ‘toolkit’ of marketing assets including posters available to download to promote their local products and services, attractions and experiences.
For everything you need to know about visiting Cheltenham go to Visit Cheltenham.