The international effect of the Covid 19 virus and the wettest February on record are expected to impact on Bath’s tourism numbers as the 2020 season opens up.
A record number of people – from home and abroad – came to the city in 2018. An estimated 6.25 million visited the district – contributing £470 million to the local economy.
However, Bath may have to spend more time promoting itself on the home market in the months to come and encourage its own citizens to support the home economy.
Bath Newseum caught up this morning with Kathryn Davis who is the acting CEO for Visit Bath – the Destination Management Organisation responsible for the strategic leadership of tourism and the body charged with growing the local economy through the promotion of our World Heritage City.
She would have been in Berlin today – at an international tourism gathering – but the event was cancelled. I asked her what effect the coronavirus was having on tourism numbers.
Meanwhile, Councillor Paul Crossley, the B&NES cabinet member for Community Services, told Bath Newseum:
“With such a fluid situation, it is impossible to estimate the impact of Coronavirus on tourism locally. We continue to follow the Public Health England (PHE) guidance that is frequently updated here https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ but at present, we have no information that could help us gauge the likely impact for Bath and North East Somerset.
With the restrictions enforced on all travel by the Chinese government and on school travel by the French and Italian governments we have seen some impacts on visitors from these destinations, however, at the end of February the Roman Baths had welcomed almost 15,000 more visitors than over the comparative period in 2018/19.”
Bath Newseum also contacted Bath Business Improvement District (Bath BID) for comment. This is an independent, not for profit, business-led initiative working to create the environment for businesses in Bath to succeed.
A spokesperson told me: ‘Naturally we are sharing all government advice with our levy payers. We are working with Visit Bath and Bath Council and monitoring the situation very closely.’