Tourism and hospitality employ thousands of people in Dover & Deal. Given that we live in such a beautiful corner of the world, it is no surprise that so many people come and visit every year.
Our visitor economy has increased by almost 80% to over £200 million coming out of the pandemic. Tourism jobs have increased by a third. The Government provided over £300 billion of support to hospitality, leisure and retail industries nationally. It was a huge help to areas like ours to save businesses and support recovery.
Cultural and historic sites are a central part of our tourism offer. I have been working hard to ensure that our area gets the investment needed to attract more jobs and money to this vital sector of our local economy. Local attractions have received millions of pounds of extra funding in recent years. Dover’s historic Maison Dieu has benefitted from over £4million in grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore it to its Grade I listed glory. Dover Castle had over 200,000 visitors in 2022. More than £26 million of funding is being invested to improve the Castle over the next decade. Dover Harbour Board has invested £250 million in the Western Docks project, including the new marina curve. This investment will bring even more people into our area to visit and stay.
However, it is important to make sure our hospitality and tourism industry works for everyone. A big issue for many is short-term holiday lets, such as Airbnbs. The internet has opened up a world of short-term holiday lets – which is great as it has opened up more opportunities for people to come and stay locally.
But it also needs to be regulated so that the short-term let revolution is fair to existing hotel and Bed & Breakfast owners. In particular that proper taxes and regulations are followed for fair competition. It’s also important it is fair to local residents, many of whom complain to me about noise and other poor behaviour.
That’s why I have called for more regulation of the short-term lettings market in Parliament, so that the right balance can be struck. Now the Government has been consulting on a registration system for short-term lets. Ensuring we make this sector work for everyone will preserve choice for visitors and also ensure that residents in our community are benefitting from tourism and hospitality.
It is great news that our area is a place that so many people want to visit. The support that tourism and hospitality has received in recent years is continuing to make Dover and Deal ever more attractive. I will continue working hard to ensure our tourism and hospitality sector continues to thrive and grow now and into the future.
click on the video above to find out more about support for tourism and hospitality