THE MALVERNS has the potential to become a green tourism destination because of the changes in people’s leisure habits caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malvern Hills District Council’s new Visitor Economy Action Plan has set out how the tourism sector will be supported to rebuild up until 2025 with a focus on making the most of its beautiful scenery, heritage and sustainability.
The plan states in the short to medium-term people are more likely to holiday at home because of travel restrictions related to the pandemic and issues relating to Brexit.
It also expects people will be seeking outdoor experiences as they take time to adapt to once again being inside crowded indoor spaces as restrictions are lifted and life returns to normal.
There is also a growing market for people concerned about climate change and wanting to reduce the environmental impact of their leisure pursuits.
And The United Nations World Tourism Organisation recommends the recovery of the tourism sector is based around sustainability and environmental protection.
The plan contains more than 70 actions and sets out how tourism businesses will be supported during the pandemic through Covid-19 business support grant schemes and the promotion of the ‘safe and secure’ message, once national lockdown restrictions are lifted.
In the long-term, businesses will be helped to adopt greener practices and the district’s current festival and events programme will be expanded to attract footfall.
The ambition is to earn The Malverns national recognition as a green tourism destination and a UK destination for health and wellbeing.
Tourism is important to the district and research carried out in 2019 found 3.9million trips were made to The Malverns every year, with visitors spending about £123million. This supports more than 2,900 jobs and adds £145million to the local economy.
Malvern Hills District Council leader Coun Sarah Rouse, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Covid-19 restrictions have hit our tourism businesses hard and this plan sets out how we are going to help them recover by playing to our strengths.
“We want to encourage people to stay in the UK and enjoy our beautiful district and once restrictions are lifted, and this pandemic comes to an end, we are well placed to do that.
“The plan also ensures that we do so in a way that is sustainable and limits the impact on our environment.”