‘Don’t flying to the UK to visit the Cotswolds’, council chiefs say

CIVIC chiefs in the Cotswolds say they don’t want overseas tourists to travel by plane to visit the area.

The Cotswolds attract tens of millions of visitors each year.

But Cotswold District Council cabinet members say they want to see fewer tourists from markets such as Asia and the Americas who would have to fly to the UK to visit the region.

They would rather promote the Cotswolds to visitors who can get to the UK by more sustainable means.

A recent council report says some overseas markets have not returned yet especially Asian markets, while the key North American market is showing signs of recovery.

British families have taken the opportunity to holiday overseas in 2022 and the Cotswolds has seen a loss of domestic tourism as a result, the council’s six monthly update of the green economic growth strategy says.

However, this has been offset by the rising but relatively low number of overseas visitors. The latest business survey indicated that a lack of overseas visitors was a concern for businesses.

Some cabinet members would rather see visitors come to the Cotswolds via ferry or rail.

Climate change and forward planning cabinet member Rachel Coxcoon (LD, Moreton East) told a recent meeting that she is “a bit disturbed about the idea of promoting flights to the UK”.

“I know we are a highly desirable location to visit but if we are to be promoting the Cotswolds to overseas visitors could we focus on markets where people can come by train and ferry rather than flying from Florida?”

Economic development lead officer Paul James said they have seen an upsurge in domestic tourism since the pandemic.

He said: “That’s a good thing from a sustainability point of view. I guess on the other side, I don’t want to start a debate on this or say anything controversial, but I guess it’s probably better that overseas tourists fly here and spend their money supporting our economy than fly somewhere else and spend their money supporting someone else’s.”

Council leader Joe Harris (LD, St Michael’s) said they all feel guilty when they travel by plane. “We’re all a bit scared of Rachel when we fly somewhere,” he joked.

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