Tourism Business Chat with Andrew Hird
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Launching this series of Tourism Business Chat is an interview between Chris Scargill and Andrew Hird; General Manager at Woodland Holiday Park in Norfolk, and Chairman of Visit North Norfolk Coast and Countryside.
Chris and Andrew reflect on the issues that the tourism sector has faced in the last 12 months and look at what can be done to help businesses rebuild and grow, as they look towards the Government’s roadmap for lockdown restrictions easing.
Andrew discusses how it is important that businesses start engaging with their DMOs (Destination Marketing Organisations) and that the way forward is for businesses to work together to raise the profile of their community, which will benefit all those in that region. He believes cohesion helps to amplify the message of a particular area and gives it credibility in the wider UK market.
Andrew reflects on the holiday park’s worries during the first lockdown, and how staff and customers have dealt with the uncertainty of moving in and out of lockdowns. The longevity of the business was secure, so they have focused on the wellbeing of their staff. Andrew shares how they have revised their ‘people plan’, which they have developed with the mindset that some things will probably have changed forever.
Chris and Andrew consider the changes in customer behavior; VAT; the future of staycations; and recovery. Andrew highlights how a strong downturn in the high street will no doubt create job losses, but that those skills can transfer into tourism; engagement with people being a key transferable asset. He believes that tourism is now a full-time occupation if someone wants it to be and is willing to work hard. The sector post COVID will be a great time for future employees, entrepreneurs and recruiters to start looking at the sector as a career, rather than a stopgap, as is often how jobs in the sector are perceived.
Andrew’s long career within the sector means he is perfectly placed to offer a valuable insight into what the sector has been through, and how it can continue to thrive as a vital part of the UK economy. This chat is not to be missed for those in the sector as well as any business leader who has been impacted negatively by lockdown restrictions.
(Please note, this episode was recorded before the Government update on the planned roadmap out of lockdown restrictions, announced on 22 February 2021.)
You can find Woodland Holiday Park here.
Engage with Visit North Norfolk Coast & Countryside here.
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