Opportunity Knocks: Tourism seen as a key sector for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Featuring Tom Roach | 24th January, 2018

As head of our Tourism Accounting and Advisory Team here at PKF Francis Clark, it was especially pleasing to see that the recent ‘pitch document’ issued by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP includes tourism as one of the top ten key sectors that can play a crucial role in growing the economy of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

Key drivers and specific opportunities

The prospectus highlights the coastline, the World Heritage sites and the world renowned attractions, all of which are particularly interested in overseas opportunities, as being key to driving increased trade.

The plan points towards the opportunities for:

  • Continued and focused business support including: access to funding, marketing investment and skills and career development
  • The government to consider Cornwall and Isles of Scilly as the test bed region for a post Brexit VAT system; finding ways of capitalising on any potential reduction in the VAT rate for the tourism industry
  • A sector deal for tourism, along with the devolution of ‘Visit Britain’s’ budgets for overseas tourism development and promotion, working with London and Manchester as gateway cities for the inbound tourism economy.

Interlinking key

We think that with so much of the income coming from tourism is going into the local economy, the trickle-down effect for the economy of the region, as a whole, is significant. Indeed, several of the other ten key opportunities published are intertwined with the tourist sector. For example, much of the repair and marketing spends will be utilised in the creative sector. The agrifood sector is also a beneficiary and in fact, the impact is mutually beneficial with so much tourism being gained from the fabulous food and drink offerings in the region of the South West.

Late last year, the event held at Newquay Airport to test drive the ‘Blood Hound’, which hoped to break the land speed record, demonstrated how two of the ten opportunities in space and aerospace can join together to benefit the area. They had people coming from far and wide to see the car and the impressive displays from the collaboration partners. Certainly my daughters were fascinated by the man from the winch company, so much so that they went home and rigged a pulley system up in the dining room! This goes to show how tourism combined with these other strands of the document will not only bring wealth into the region, but foster ideas for future economic drivers as well.

Statistics

The statistics suggest that the sector provides around 58,000 jobs and accounts for roughly 12% of the county’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), bringing in a visitor spend of around £2 billion.

With so much of that being recirculated within the region through spend in hotels on food & drink, and marketing & building the sector, the tourism sector is a vital wealth generator for the overall economy.

The pitch document

A copy of the pitch document can be found here.

Over the coming weeks, the business community is being invited to comment on the ten opportunities prospectus through a series of LEP events in Falmouth, Saltash, St Ives and Truro. I and/or colleagues will be attending at least one of these – details and link to booking a space (where available) can be found here.

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