The Chairman of VisitBritain, Lord Patrick McLoughlin, visited Southport on Friday to mark the start of English Tourism Week.
The week-long annual event, organised by VisitBritain, is intended to celebrate the diverse, exciting and vibrant sector, and showcase the quality, range and value of English tourism.
The event runs from 22st – 31rd May 2021.
The former Secretary of State for Transport was invited by Southport MP Damien Moore to see the town’s unique tourism offer.
As part of the visit, Lord McLoughlin visited the owners of The Allotment in Birkdale Village to discuss the impact of the pandemic on business before walking along Lord Street and Southport Pier.
They were joined by Rachel Fitzgerald, CEO of Southport Business Improvement District (Southport BID) and Peter Hampson, Chief Executive of British Destinations and Chairman of Marketing Southport.
Lord McLoughlin said:
“I am delighted to be visiting Southport with Damien Moore MP to mark the start of English Tourism Week, a week dedicated to showing support for tourism businesses and destinations across the sector as they reopen and start to rebuild.
“I know that local businesses here in Southport have been working so hard to welcome visitors back safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great visitor experience.
“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism right across the country and the industry needs all of us to make sure it gets back on its feet.
“I encourage everyone to get out and discover the outstanding destinations and quality attractions right here on the doorstep during English Tourism Week and beyond.
“Businesses and visitor attractions will be very pleased to welcome you back.”
Damien Moore, Member of Parliament for Southport, said:
“I was pleased to welcome Lord McLoughlin to Southport to mark the start of English Tourism Week.
“English Tourism makes up 80% of the UK’s visitor economy and is a major employer of school leavers and young people not just here in Southport but across the country.
“I would encourage local residents to support our town’s great local businesses and give them – and our economy – a boost as we bounce back from this pandemic.”
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said:
“William Sutton established Southport as a visitor economy pioneer when he opened a bathing house here in 1792. Since then, through innovation and reinvention, our town has established itself as a leading UK tourist destination.
“Our leisure and hospitality sectors are now emerging from the pandemic, a little bruised, but also with a renewed confidence and determination to help turbo charge Southport’s recovery.
“With the resilience, energy and imagination of our leisure and hospitality entrepreneurs, backed by the resources of the Town Deal fund, Southport is ready to play a key role in the recovery of the UK’s visitor economy.”
Peter Hampson, Chief Executive of British Destinations and Chairman of Marketing Southport said:
“It is a particularly appropriate time to celebrate the start of English Tourism week here in Southport as the vital visitor economy reopens and to begins its long-awaited recovery from the unprecedented impacts of covid-19 and we announce further news of the town’s redevelopment plans.”