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Minister Nigel Huddleston with BID CEO Carolyn Custerson and Andy and Julian Banner-Price from the 2

Minister Nigel Huddleston with BID CEO Carolyn Custerson and Andy and Julian Banner-Price from the 25 Boutique - Credit: Archant

Minister’s fact-fnding mission to hear how the English Riviera tourism and hospitality sector has been battered by the pandemic

How the pandemic has hit the tourism and hospitality business in Torbay has been spelled out to a government minister.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston took in the English Riviera as part of a whistle-stop tour of the West Country which was brought to its knees by the three-month virus shutdown.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster helped facilitate the visit.

Mr Huddleston is Assistant Government Whip and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage).

He worked for Deloitte working in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications and Travel, Hospitality and Leisure practices for several years, before joining Google as Industry Head of Travel in January 2011.

Requests to visit Kents Cavern because of its UNESCO connections and the 25 Boutique following their recent VisitEngland Gold award as top Bed and Breakfast establishment in the country were organised on the morning visit.

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Kents Cavern boss Nick Powe said it was great to discuss the impacts of Covid19 on independent heritage attractions and the Great South West England with the minister

25 Boutique owners Andy and Julian Banner-Price said they were ‘honoured’ to be included in the visit.

Tweets following his visit highlighted how much he enjoyed his time in the Bay and how impressed he was with the English Riviera and all that it can offer visitors.

Carolyn Custerson, chief executive, English Riviera BID, said it was fantastic to be able to speak directly with the Minister for Tourism about our ongoing concerns relating to the pandemic and the need for continuing support for the local tourism and hospitality businesses because of the Bay’s seasonality.

She said: “Throughout the pandemic the English Riviera BID Company has worked really hard with partners to keep government alert to the seriousness of the challenges presented by COVID, undertaking ongoing impact research and ensuring that all Levy Payers were communicated with on a very regular basis to help guide them through these really challenging times. “