When the Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston makes vital decisions from now on, he will have the words of Gloucestershire businesses to reflect on.
In what was a private meeting, Mr Huddleston stopped off in Cheltenham to hear first-hand from two county companies how they were coping with the legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Marketing Cheltenham’s David Jackson arranged the audience with Mr Huddleston with Marwan Hemchaoui from Ellenborough Park and Melanie Cheeseman of Dunkertons Organic Cider Company Ltd and The Lucky Onion Group.
Mr Jackson said: ‘It was about hearing from businesses and for the minister to be able to ask ‘how is it going?’, ‘what has it been like?’, ‘what are the challenges now?’.
‘It was a good opportunity for both sides. There is only so far anecdotes will get you. It is important to hear tangible examples from the sector he represents to be properly informed.’
He added: ‘There is a lot to be positive about as the economy is opening up, talk of staycations, an increase in bookings and people starting to spend again.
‘There is consumer confidence and footfall on the high street (in Cheltenham) is actually up over 2019 levels.
‘But that also brings challenges for businesses who might be struggling to capitilise because of staffing issues or limited by rules around social distancing.
‘We now know that when he talks in Westminster and to the Treasury he will have an idea of how things are in Gloucestershire.’
By Andrew Merrell