Oxford Mail readers have been reacting to the news that the pandemic has devastated Oxfordshire’s tourism industry, wiping £1.5bn off the value of the visitor economy.

The county’s destination management organisation Experience Oxfordshire has revealed how tourism suffered extensively in 2020, resulting in significant job losses.

The Economic Impact Report for Tourism in Oxfordshire, a report commissioned by the destination management organisation, shows a staggering 59% decline in the value of tourism - from £2.5bn to £1bn - and a substantial decline of 39% in jobs supported by the sector - from 42,000 to 25,000.

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Experience Oxfordshire said it was concerned about ‘post pandemic recovery’ as the pandemic continues to have an effect on visitor numbers.

Overall, there was a 51% decline in trip volume from 30 million in 2019 to 14.5 million in 2020.

ALICE STYLES: “People probably stop coming to Oxford as there is nowhere to park and you cannot travel a long way on a bike which is what they want you to do.”

PAUL WORTH: “The council has helped to hit tourism before Covid by not liking coaches and closing coach park and offering no incentive.

“Coaches have to park in laybys on the ring road. Towns do better than the city by providing actual coach parking on offer near facilities.”

SUE LEWIS: “It’s all very well for the council to bleat on about the lack of tourists and students affecting trade, they obviously don’t consider the people that live in Oxford.

“If Oxford was not such a money grabbing city more locals may visit. The price of parking is the issue I think.

“Yes bus travel is okay, not if you need to do a lot of shopping and perhaps have a couple of children and a buggy or a pram etc.”

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SARAH WILLIAMS: “Then there are going to be restrictions in place to reduce vehicles getting into Oxford; but bus services are shocking and trains are busy!”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “Has anyone actually asked the people of Oxfordshire if we genuinely want the tourists back?

“It feels like Liz and Susan are chasing the cash without considering the impact on the lives of ordinary residents and voters.”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “Five miles there and back is 16km, so 1600g of CO2. If the tourist has arrived by bus or train, their environmental impact is lower.

Oxford Mail:

“It isn’t tourists that bring the city to a standstill - most weekends it’s queuing for the Westgate.”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “Come Easter, come summer, residents are forced off the buses in the morning due to the sheer volume of language students.

“Lines of tourist coaches pumping out diesel fumes to keep the drivers comfortably cool before they take the coach load to visit Stratford in the afternoon.

“Look back to 2017 when Councillor Mary Clarkson expressed her hatred of tourists, describing Oxford as a ‘tourist hell’.

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“Typically for a councillor, she then disappeared to the Edinburgh Fringe for a few weeks and helped make the local’s lives there a misery with tourists.”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “I have long thought that relying on tourism is an unsustainable basis for an economy and that when calculating the net income it brings, not all costs, such as for example, impact on the quality of life of residents or of cleaning up pollution (sewage seems current) are adequately included or accounted for.

“Too long there has been a mantra that tourism is an unalloyed good thing.

“Other heavily visited places in the world would beg to differ and Bhutan as an example offers an interesting alternative example of how to at least take some recompense for the depredations it brings.”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “Not just Covid 19.

“In Oxford itself, the ongoing and vindictive war against the motorist is the reason people are now staying away. With further LTNs and insane bus gates set to be forced in, it will only get far worse.

“Our councils need to see sense and offer unfettered road access and free parking.”

OXFORD MAIL READER: “Firstly it was the government response and not Covid that wiped the £1.5bn.”

“If they had actually done something instead of dithering we would have saved ourselves a lot of painful choices.”

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