A tourism, hospitality and leisure support and recovery plan has been launched to help Greater Manchester’s sector navigate through lockdown before rebuilding following the severe impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Marketing Manchester, part of the Growth Company and the region’s destination management organisation (DMO), which promotes Greater Manchester to a global audience as a place to visit, invest, meet and study, has developed a plan with eight areas of focus.

The plan has been shaped and approved in partnership with the Tourism Industry Economic Recovery (TIER) group, which is comprised of leading voices across the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector including culture, aviation, transport, sport, conferencing, hotels, food and drink and retail.

It outlines three areas that Marketing Manchester and its partners have been, and will continue to deliver: providing a regular programme of business advice and information to support businesses across GM; lobbying for continued Government support; and raising the profile of Greater Manchester’s tourism, hospitality and leisure sector at a national level to make sure its voice is heard.

When the time is right to move towards recovery, the plan prioritises an additional five areas of focus: rebuilding consumer confidence in, and the profile of, Greater Manchester; rebuilding the region’s international profile and connectivity; building back the business visits and events (conferencing) sector; better demonstrating how the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector can support Greater Manchester’s wider strategic objectives; and seeking consensus for a more sustainable structure for DMOs like Marketing Manchester, to ensure businesses continue to benefit from their support and activity.

The plan was launched at a special webinar today featuring speakers from Marketing Manchester, including Managing Director Sheona Southern and Director of Tourism Nick Brooks-Sykes, as well as guests including Elise Wilson, leader of Stockport Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA’s) Economy portfolio lead, Hilary Centeleghe, Growth and Startup Lead at Business Growth Hub, and David Martin, Head of Tourism Sponsorship and Strategy at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The tourism, hospitality and leisure sector has been severely disrupted by Covid-19, with 61% of its £9 billion annual economic value estimated to be lost this year alone, with major consequences for businesses and the 100,000 people employed in the sector across Greater Manchester.

Additional lockdown measures in November and a combination of other factors are having a further impact on the highly vulnerable sector: a lack of high spending business and international visitors; conferences, major concerts, events and sporting fixtures being unable to go ahead; several months of local lockdown restrictions; and Government rulings such as the 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses.

Earlier this year Marketing Manchester and GC Employment, also part of the Growth Company, launched the Tourism and Hospitality Talent Hub, a resource providing training, recruitment and support for people whose work has been impacted by the pandemic.

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said: “As the UK emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic and faces a new global positioning outside the EU, in places like Greater Manchester there are still significant obstacles for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector to overcome before we can work towards recovery.

“This support and recovery plan acknowledges the precarious situation that we continue to find ourselves in here in Greater Manchester. The plan therefore does not over promise, but rather sets out what we have been doing and will continue to do for the sector right now, as well as outlining a roadmap for how we can recover to previous levels and be best placed to compete globally for sustained growth, when the time is right.

Mike Blackburn, Chair of GM’s Internationalisation & Advisory Board and Chair at Marketing Manchester, added: “There has been a great deal of rhetoric about the importance of the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector in recent months, and rightly so – the sector is worth up to £9 billion to Greater Manchester’s economy in normal times and it is estimated that in excess of 60% of that value has been lost in 2020 due to Covid-19.

“The sector has been devastated and there is a great deal of work to do. It is therefore imperative that we work together in cross-sector partnership to get behind this plan in order to support businesses throughout the tough winter months so that they are in the best possible shape to recover quickly, efficiently and securely when that time comes. It is heartening to see businesses across Greater Manchester already beginning to add their support.”

To view the full plan, Tourism, hospitality and leisure support and recovery plan for Greater Manchester: leading the industry through crisis and driving recovery, please click here.