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The University’s student-run Tourism Society hosted the online talk and exchange of thoughts and ideas with Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester and Member of the Shadow Cabinet for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on Thursday January 21.

As part of a series of guest speaker events, the discussion covered the key role tourism plays in the region and nationally, centring around COVID’s impact on businesses and stakeholders, and the importance of the Visitor Economy for the area as the virus is combatted and the pandemic comes to an end.

The MP talked about the need for:

  • greater promotion of Chester on a national and international level, including at airports and on trains;
  • more financial support for Chester Zoo, recognising its local, national and international importance;
  • more promotional links between Cheshire Oaks and Chester, with Cheshire Oaks being an opportunity to draw people into the city;
  • an increased mix of hotels spread out across Chester;
  • the furlough scheme not to miss anyone out and as COVID-19 restrictions are eased, for it to be slowly phased out sector by sector, providing more support for hospitality and tourism businesses which are likely to be last to return to business-as-usual, and,
  • to further support businesses, a short-term reduction in taxes such as Council Tax to give them a better opportunity to recover.

University of Chester Tourism Society President and final year Tourism Management student Edward Dale, said: “Students and staff all learned a lot from this event and Chris noted that he too learned a lot in exchange.

“It was great to hear Chris conclude that students are a valuable asset to Chester and that students should be confident in their knowledge.

“We would like to thank him for joining us as guest speaker, sharing his views, answering our questions and listening to our thoughts.”

Dr Maeve Marmion, Associate Professor and Head of Department for Experience Economy said: “We are very grateful to Chris for his time and support.

“I’d also like to congratulate Edward and his fellow Society members on organising such a thought-provoking and important event.

“Students and staff all enjoyed the opportunity to hear directly from our local MP and Shadow Minister and to ask questions and share ideas live via video call.”

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