Independent research commissioned by Visit Kent on behalf of district council partners has revealed that £13 million was spent on average in the local economy each month in 2021, as a direct result of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.
The number of tourism jobs across the district also increased by 32% between 2020 to 2021 to 4,522, accounting for 15% of total employment in White Cliffs Country last year, despite the Government furlough scheme finishing in September 2021.
These latest figures provide the first look at the rebuild and recovery of White Cliffs Country’s tourism and hospitality sector during 2021. Using the industry-respected Cambridge Economic Impact Model, the study measured the volume and value of tourism within the county in 2021, and the effect of visits and visitor expenditure on the local economy throughout this tumultuous period. England entered its third national lockdown on 6th January 2021 and began the four Step roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, which only formally ended in July 2021. The Government then also announced the ‘Plan B’ measures in December 2021 following the rise of the Omicron variant.
While the tourism and hospitality picture remained challenging throughout the region in 2021, these latest findings do show that the Dover District Visitor Economy 2021 performed above the national average across several areas. The overall results show that White Cliffs Country benefited from extremely high levels of domestic tourism spending – against a nationally projected 64% growth on 2020, Dover district’s domestic tourism spend increased by 103%, generating £48.9 million in 2021. When looking specifically at trip purpose, White Cliffs Country benefited from a high proportion of domestic leisure tourism, with 68% of domestic overnight trips being for holiday purposes in 2021.
The proportion of those travelling to visit friends and relatives (VFR) in White Cliffs Country during 2021 also accounted for 33% of all overnight trips (overseas and domestic). This demonstrates the incredible influence that ongoing support from Kent’s residents – who acted as ambassadors for their county, welcoming friends, and family to experience it first-hand – had on local businesses during a hugely difficult year.
Read the full press release here.