Visit Kent’s latest Tourism Economic Impact Study, published today, shows that before the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanet’s visitor economy was valued at £352 million, after welcoming 4.6 million visitors in 2019.
Independent research commissioned by Kent’s official Destination Management Organisation has revealed that £25 million was spent on average in the local economy each month in 2019, as a direct result of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.
The number of tourism jobs across the district showed a 9% increase between 2017 and 2019, to 8,664, accounting for 20% of Thanet’s total employment last year.
Using the industry-respected Cambridge Economic Impact Model, the study measured the volume and value of tourism across the county in 2019, and the impact of visits and visitor expenditure on the local economy.
The release of Thanet’s latest Economic Impact findings not only provides a detailed picture of the significant effect the district’s tourism and hospitality sector had on the region’s wider economy last year, but also establishes a benchmark from which to measure the impact of COVID-19, and an extremely useful vehicle in aiding the recovery of the industry.
Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet Member for Estates and Economic Development at Thanet District Council said:
“Everyone involved in Thanet’s tourism industry should feel very proud. They have worked hard to create a quality offering and we are delighted that this has once again driven positive results.
“Whilst it’s encouraging to read about Thanet’s appeal as a destination, this year has been very challenging and the sector has been hit hard. Working with partners, we have plans including the Destination Management Framework and the Interreg Experience Project that will help tackle the impact of COVID-19 and encourage visitors out of the main summer season and to stay overnight in order to support economic growth in the district and beyond.”
Deirdre Wells OBE, Chief Executive of Visit Kent, said:
“The insights presented as part of this latest research demonstrate the huge contribution our vital industry makes to Thanet’s economy, and to the overall Kent economy. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector is having to drastically re-think how to rebuild demand and revenue streams, working together to adapt, develop and survive.
“That’s why we are particularly proud to be working closely with our partners in Thanet as part of our four year Interreg Experience project; supporting businesses to adapt to changing consumer trends and become more resilient by creating new visitor experiences. Continued collaborative commitments like this will be critical in championing the recovery of our sector during a particularly challenging year ahead.”
The recovery of the county’s visitor economy is being further supported by South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) funding which has been secured by Visit Kent, alongside colleagues in Essex and Sussex. The funding project, titled Re-Building Confidence and Demand in the Visitor Economy, will be rolled out across the SELEP area, and will include major digital campaigns to drive off-season visits, increase consumer confidence and disperse visitors, along with dedicated local campaigns to effectively reboot the visitor economy ahead of the upcoming 2021 season.
To access the full Thanet Tourism Economic Impact Study 2019, please visit the Visit Kent Business website.
For more information about the Thanet district, please visit: www.visitthanet.co.uk.
For more information about Kent, please visit www.visitkent.co.uk.