TOURISM in Lancashire is booming with latest annual figures showing an increase in visitors of 4.5% to 67m and jobs in the sector growing by 2.6% to nearly 60,000.
At the same time, the economic impact of the visitor economy has risen by 5.3% to £4.13bn, Marketing Lancashire reports.
Day trips to Lancashire have increased by 4.7% to 58.9m while visitors choosing to stay for short breaks and holidays have also increased by 2.9% to 8.3m with an average stay of 3.1 nights.
Meanwhile, more than 50 delegates from around the county have attended a key tourism forum at the Brockholes Conference Centre near Preston.
Hosted by Marketing Lancashire in partnership with the Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub the Lancashire Tourism & Hospitality Skills & Employment Forum:
- addressed the current skills and employment issues affecting tourism and hospitality businesses
- raised awareness of the existing support for the sector
- explored how to attract, inspire and develop current employees and how to tackle further concerns around skills and employment gaps with potential solutions for the future
Speakers included Lindsay Campbell, Director, Campbell & Rowley; Katie Mellor, Sales & Operations Director, Cummins Mellor Chefs Jobs UK Team; Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director, Lancashire Skills Hub and Justina Ma, Business Manager, Marketing Lancashire.
Lancashire’s Visitor Economy Strategy, adopted by Marketing Lancashire and sector partners, aims to help tourism businesses grow and to generate a further 5,000 new tourism and hospitality jobs by 2020. To achieve this the county must recruit, retain, and attract the best talent for the industry.
“The purpose of the event was to initiate a ‘skills conversation’ with local Visitor Economy businesses and education providers to help us to understand current skills and employment issues in the sector, whilst also ensuring that businesses were aware of the support currently available,” said Dr Lawty-Jones (pictured).
“The feedback from attendees was extremely useful – there was lots of interest from the businesses present in the Enterprise Adviser Network and funded training provision, as well as the messages conveyed by our two business presenters who shared best practice in relation to valuing and retaining staff.
“The two key issues that emerged were communication – in terms of getting the messages out to businesses about the support available, and encouraging young people to consider the breadth of careers opportunities available to them in the sector.”
Tourism and hospitality businesses interested in support provided by the Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub should contact LancsSkillsHub@lancashirelep.co.uk.