Council bosses prepare for high numbers of visitors to Northumberland when restrictions are relaxed
Council chiefs are preparing for high numbers of visitors to Northumberland this summer.
Paul Jones, director of local services at Northumberland County Council, provided an overview of the council’s plans at a coastal summit meeting of key stakeholders.
He said: “The key objective is really to try and reduce the pressures that were experienced by communities along the coast but also in other parts of the county and trying to mitigate that as far as we can into the coming spring and summer visitor season.
“The other thing we wanted to achieve was to provide a safer welcoming visitor experience. The tourism economy is really important to Northumberland and we want people who come here to enjoy themselves and come back.
“Northumberland is a beautiful location so the measures we put in place have to be compatible with that. We want to retain Northumberland’s unique nature and its visitor heritage because that’s what attracts people here in the first place.”
At the same time, he recognises the importance of supporting Northumberland’s economic recovery out of lockdown, particularly for the hard-hit hospitality and holiday sector.
He added: "Even with the vaccination programme going well we are going to be living with Covid and the need for hands, face, space requirements and social distancing is still going to be a key.
“We do expect visitor numbers to be high again. There are already restrictions on international flights and there will be people concerned about going abroad even if they are able so we we do expect there to be high demand for staycation and day trip visits into Northumberland.
“Sadly when you get an influx of visitors to an area, particularly if they’re not people who generally come into the countryside, you will have a minority that display inappropriate or poor behaviours so we have to manage and be prepared for that.
“Whilst normally you get really busy days such as bank holidays and school summer holidays, given the experience of last summer, the expectation is that pretty much any day, if it’s hot and sunny, it’s going to be very busy."