As Visit England encourage destination management organisations to celebrate English Tourism Week (25-31 May 2020), tourism staff at Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council will be working in partnership to prioritise the recovery and future promotion of Shropshire’s visitor economy.

The tourism sector is one of top five sectors for economic prosperity and growth in Shropshire, attracting over 13 million visitors and generating circa £800 million per year for the local economy. The county is home to major flagship destinations, including Shropshire Hills AONB, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, Shrewsbury and Ludlow.

Recent months have seen the devastation of the visitor economy across Shropshire with the impact of flooding in February, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. Tourism businesses, from large scale hotels and attractions to restaurants and boutique B&Bs, have all been affected, with substantial losses from the spring and early summer season.

Now leaders from across the tourism sector in Shropshire have come together to take a co-ordinated approach to support businesses and the community at this time, by focusing efforts on the sustainable recovery of the visitor economy. In the case of Shropshire Council, a new tourism officer joins the council on Monday 1 June to help support the recovery effort and work alongside colleagues at Telford & Wrekin Council.

The new collaboration will work with the private sector to develop a COVID-19 ‘respond and reset’ action plan. The plan aims to support businesses towards recovery by supplying a practical toolkit of guidance, information and support to ensure national standards are met countywide.

The plan will also provide a traffic light approach to support businesses to prepare for the lifting of regulations, to create an environment of reassurance that Shropshire is safe to visit. The programme of activity will be based on  the latest Government guidance on easing of restrictions, so footfall and social distancing can be safely managed to protect and reassure local residents.

Commentating on the new collaboration, leaders from both councils emphasised the need for teamwork.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said:

This collaboration brings together the two local councils facilitating destination management, with the expertise of other key partnerships across the region.

The councils will also work with a number of tourism associations including Visit Shropshire, Visit Shropshire Hills, Love Bridgnorth, Love Wellington, Shrewsbury BID, Ludlow Destination Partnership, Discover Shropshire and Telford, Shropshire Festivals, Oswestry Borderland Tourism, Oswestry BID and Visit Church Stretton. The motto being ‘Together we are Stronger’.

Other Destination Marketing Partners are urged to get in touch and join conversations, share knowledge and be a part of the recovery plan. To get involved email discovershropshire&

Pictured: Oswestry Hillfort – Courtesy of Graham Mitchell.