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New data shows tourism may not recover until middle of decade

The Burrell Collection, Glasgow - proposed refurbishment (Image from Glasgow Life)

Our first 'Cultural Cities' forum of 2022 will focus on the survival of cultural and eco-tourism in the UK post Covid-19 and the recent variant Omicron.

The Mayor of London has announced that tourism in London may not return to pre-pandemic levels until the middle of the decade according to new analysis, and has urged the Government to come forward with a comprehensive package of measures which provide full business rates relief, extension of the VAT relief scheme, and a substantial increase in direct grant funding to support hospitality, night time and cultural venues which were counting on a rise in income over the Christmas period to help see them through the lean winter months.

The Mayor's office states that tourism plays a vital part in London's social and economic life - it supports as many as one in seven jobs in the capital and contributes almost 12 per cent of London's GDP. London is the third biggest driver for people visiting the UK and accounted for 53% of the UK's international visits in 2019. London visitors go on to spend over £640 million in local economies outside of the capital and prior to the pandemic 15 per cent of overseas visitors to London came as part of a wider trip to the UK.

In Scotland, the much anticipated re-opening of Glasgow's Burrell Collection this March, may help to swell tourist numbers and there are plans to improve the public realm of Pollok Park next to the museum to widen the appeal of the attraction. The international art collection closed for refurbishment in 2016 and its re-opening has been delayed until this year.

Glasgow Life says that The Burrell is being re-vitalised, ensuring that the world-class collection and its architecturally significant home are safeguarded for the future, providing the opportunity to develop innovative and immersive displays and reinterpret the works of art.

Through interactive displays, visitors will meet a range of historical and contemporary craftspeople, and will be able to get hands-on experience with craft techniques and materials. Museum goers will also be introduced to the Burrell family and the vibrant art scene in Glasgow from the late 1800s to the 1900s as well as a glimpse into Hutton Castle - the Burrell family home in the 1920s.

When the museum opens, over a third more gallery space will display objects that have not been seen for decades or ever been on permanent display. A new outdoor space with cafe seating will mean visitors can enjoy the museum's parkland setting more than ever before.

Deputy Chief Executive of Glasgow Life, Susan Deighan will be speaking at our forum this week. She leads Glasgow Life's delivery of the city's Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 and is responsible for promoting the work that Glasgow Life does, including strategic partnerships, destination marketing, fundraising, communications and major events. This includes promoting Glasgow internationally as an exciting and vibrant tourist and visitor destination and ensuring that the people of Glasgow are engaged with all the benefits that Glasgow Life offers.

Joining her will be Contemporary Art Society Art Producer, Megan O'Shea, who will be describing the organisation's work to create new cultural public realm spaces at London Wall West. Peppered with Roman and Medieval sites, the spaces around the churches, guild halls and the Barbican, will be made to work day to night for a diverse audience and to celebrate 'everyday creativity'.

Director Cannon Ivers of LDA Design will be sharing important updates on how the Strand Aldwych project (for Westminster City Council) is being used to improve public realm around cultural institutions such as Somerset House. Louise Brennan, Regional Director at Historic England along with Wigan Council's Chief Executive Alison McKenzie-Folan will be discussing the vital cultural improvements to Wigan's King Street and architects Scott Brownrigg and Grimshaw will both be speaking about the growth of eco-tourism - the Barony in Ayrshire .and the Eden Project North in Morecambe.

CGI from consultation proposal on future for London Wall West (140 to 150 London Wall) - courtesy City of London Corporation


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