Oxford is ready to bounce back with its hospitality and tourism businesses predicting a boom in visitor numbers when they reopen.

The firms believe there is pent-up demand for travel and are pulling together to give guests the warmest possible welcome when they return to the city.

Former concierge at The Randolph Hotel, William Thomson, is heading the mission to revitalise the local economy as rooms and restaurants, museums and attractions prepare to reopen.

Mr Thomson, who has launched his own concierge business called Ask William, will use his five-star network of contacts to benefit hospitality businesses across Oxfordshire as they emerge from a difficult year.

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He said: “By ‘upselling’ local hospitality services in this way, we will give returning guests – desperate for good times - an even better Oxford experience while helping our local hospitality and tourism businesses prosper.”

Louise Chantal, joint director and CEO of Oxford Playhouse, said: “The Playhouse looks forward to working with Ask William to help realise the full potential this wonderful city holds for visitors and tourists.

“After all, William Thomson is an institution in his own right!”

Mr Thomson said he is confident that Oxford is on the brink of a visitor boom, with the Government’s roadmap suggesting all restrictions could be gone by June 21.

He said: “We’ve just had a year of gloom and doom, but there’s now a real urgency for travel, treats and events.”

Jonathan Sayers, owner/operator of Concierge History Tours and Wedding Cars, agreed.

He said: “We are taking lots of bookings now and really expect a bumper time this year.”

And Owen Little, head chef and partner at restaurant No 1 Ship St, said: “Bookings to the restaurant are already coming in – it’s going to be a great year.”

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Oxford’s world-famous museums are one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Suzanne de la Rosa, of Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford University, said: “Everyone loves our museums and we are keen to see them open again.”

Paul Jeffery, corporate relationships and event manager at the Ashmolean, added: “We can’t wait to be open again – we will be opening with our Pre-Raphaelite exhibition on May 17 and will be welcoming our visitors inside once again. 

"While we have been using lockdown for important conservation work, there is nothing better than the life that visitors bring to the museum”.

The Oxford Food Company, a leading caterer in Oxfordshire, said it had adapted to the new circumstances in lockdown but catering manager Dan Craddock said to feel the "buzz" of the city re-opening was exciting. 

And Jane Marshall, general manager of City Sightseeing, said: “We need to create an awareness that Oxford is once again open as a global destination.”

However, an organisation that promotes the county said it was already receiving enquiries from foreign visitors.

Frank Smith, of Experience Oxfordshire, said: “We are seeing lots of interest from the local domestic audience at the moment but also keen interest from overseas travellers hoping to come back soon.”

To become a partner, contact hello@askwilliam.co.uk