Gloucestershire can be justly proud of its great hospitality sector.
But its restaurants, pubs and hotels have suffered so much worry and misery through lack of business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Indeed, many of these businesses may not actually open again.
We simply have to do all we can to try and save these businesses and the thousands of people who work in them.
It now looks as though the hospitality sector probably has the highest number of people furloughed by their different organisations here in Gloucestershire.
The total number employees being paid under the government’s furlough scheme is 89, 000 according to official June figures for Gloucestershire.
I would guess that the highest proportion of those employees are in the hospitality sector.
These are scary figures when you consider that something like 40% of that total furlough figure face losing their jobs when the support scheme finishes at the end of October.
So, I would make a plea to all our district councils here in the county to come together with once voice and decide that we must do all we can to help this vital part of Gloucestershire’s business and DNA.
Leadership Gloucestershire – made up of the councils’ chief executives and their chairs will be meeting shortly to discuss their COVID recovery plans for the county.
I would like to see all of them agree to fund a marketing campaign developed by Steve Gardner-Collins, who is Sales Director at The Hatton Collection hotel group and drives The Visit Gloucestershire Partnership CIC.
In essence, the message of the campaign will be: “Welcome Back to Gloucestershire”.
It is aimed at getting those people back who love our county-particularly at a time when staycations are on the agenda of many people.
Tourism in Gloucestershire has never really been joined up properly with the different councils employing officers doing their own geographic things.
They must now all come together with one cause – to save this vital part of our business life- and at the same time show the country, and the world, what a great place Gloucestershire is to savour and enjoy.