Visit Essex invest in new tourism businesses
A specially designed training and coaching programme has been set up by Visit Essex, the county’s official tourism organisation, to boost new tourism businesses in Essex this year.
The programme, funded through Essex County Council’s economic growth fund, has just been launched and is open to Essex businesses, which have been operational for 18 months or less, or looking to start up within the next 12 months in the tourism, leisure or hospitality industry.
Free training courses will be held to cover topics such as customer service and marketing and offer business support; ensuring businesses not only survive, but succeed. They will also get the opportunity to meet other Essex start-ups at these courses and can benefit from free one to one business advice from tourism experts and will receive a free business toolkit as a legacy of the programme.
Visit Essex Chairman George Kieffer said: “These start-ups are vital to tourism development in Essex. Not only does it increase the tourism offer, therefore, giving a new reason for people to visit, but it also adds to the visitor experience and helps to improve the quality of the experience. The vast majority of tourism businesses are small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) and we want to give them as much support as we can.”
County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth; Infrastructure; Waste and Recycling said: “Essex is a wonderful county to showcase and with over 55,000 people currently employed within tourism in Essex, it is important that we protect this vital industry. We want to see tourism thrive in 2015 and beyond and are working to protect, if not increase, the £2.9 billion that it brings in to the Essex economy.
As part of the project, tourism professionals and entrepreneurs will be talking to college and university students about the benefits of starting up a business in the tourism industry.
- Start of winter flying schedule sees November monthly traffic grow by 26%
- Over 327,000 more passengers fly through Stansted compared to November 2013
- Annual passenger numbers up by 11.2%, highest growth rate of any London airport
Stansted Airport experienced its busiest November in eight years as passenger numbers increased by 26% to 1.59 million, up by over 327,000 passengers compared to the same month last year.
The total number of passengers flying through the airport in the year rose to over 19.7 million, an increase of 11.2% over the previous 12 months and the highest rate of growth at any London airport.
The amount of cargo passing through the airport also increased during the period with November 2014 volumes up by 15.8% against the same month last year. Total cargo tonnage for the past 12 months increased to over 221,000 at an annual rate of growth of 3.4%.
The big increase in the number of passengers using Stansted is the result of flight frequencies on many key routes across Europe not reducing as is often the case during the off-peak season.
Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s Managing Director, said:
“The significant increase in the number of passengers flying through Stansted reflects the growing confidence of our airline partners as many maintain summer flight frequencies and extend their peak flying schedules into the winter season.
“The very strong monthly performance and the double digit annual growth not only ensures Stansted remains the fastest growing airport in the London system but is also a clear demonstration that under MAG’s ownership, the airport is being successfully transformed so it can attract more passengers and airlines and play an increasingly vital role in providing important international air connectivity over the next two decades.
Construction work has begun on a £500,000 airport themed education centre that is set to boost skills across science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (STEM).
Stansted Airport’s Aerozone will offer tailored STEM activities designed to give youngsters from local schools, colleges and community groups a taster of airport life and an insight into the variety of careers on offer across the site.
The airport’s Head of Construction and Development, Matt Allen, marked the occasion by turning the first sod of soil this week. He was joined by Aerozone Education Co-ordinator Joanne Davies and Bernie Kelly of Galliford Try - the company constructing the centre.
Matt said: “Engaging with young people, particularly those living in areas close to the airport, is a vital part of our community work. We want to encourage and inspire young people to think about what the airport does, why it does it, and the career opportunities that could be available to them in the future.
“We recognise the growing importance of tackling youth unemployment and we’ve already implemented a range of initiatives and projects to support young people into jobs at the airport. With high youth unemployment across the UK and a shortage of local skilled employees, the Aerozone along with our existing employment academy will equip future employees with skills that will help them find work, either at airports or with another employer.”
An old administration building adjacent to the airfield is being completely refurbished to house the classrooms while the surrounding area will be landscaped to include picnic, viewing and parking areas. There will also be space dedicated to the airport’s history that will include photos and artefacts dating back to the Second World War when Stansted began life as a U.S. Air Force base.
Earlier this year the airport launched its Community Network initiative which encourages local businesses to take part in airport community projects. Many have signed up and are supporting the Aerozone project, offering sponsorship and materials to kit out the centre.
“Within three years we aim to attract over 5,000 visitors each year to the Aerozone,”said Joanne Davies, the centre’s coordinator. “We also want to boost workplace volunteering and we will be encouraging airport employees via our Community Network initiative to get involved and give talks to groups about their careers and experiences,” added Joanne.
Work is due to be completed by mid-Feb 2015 with the centre set to open in March 2015.
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