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Oxfordshire tourism improved since covid but not fully

TOURISM in Oxfordshire is improving since the coronavirus pandemic but still has a ‘long way to go’.

The Economic Impact Report for Tourism in Oxfordshire (2021), a report commissioned by Experience Oxfordshire, the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the county, data shows a ‘significant recovery’ in the volume of trips to the county.

However, it indicates that there is still a ‘long way to go’ before returning to pre-pandemic levels.

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There was a 56 per cent increase in both the number of visitors and related expenditure in 2021 compared to 2020, rising from 14.5m to 23.3m visitors.

However, this does not compete with the record-level figures in 2019 which were 30m visitors.

Research from the national tourist board, VisitEngland, shows that coronavirus pandemic restrictions significantly influenced travel patterns.

The main reason for visiting Oxfordshire in 2021 was for holiday at 61 per cent, and those visiting friends and relatives accounted for 27 per cent of all visits.

The number of business-related visits, however, dropped for a second year running. In 2019 business visits accounted for 29 per cent of all trips to Oxfordshire, dropping to nine per cent of all trips in 2020 and dipping further in 2021 to just seven per cent of visits.

Councillor Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Whilst it is heartening to see this report and the welcome increase in visitor numbers across the county, we continue to live in challenging times and recognise that we need to continue to promote the county as a great visitor destination.

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“We commend Experience Oxfordshire for their work in supporting the county’s visitor economy and would encourage businesses to engage with the organisation.”

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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