GLASWEGIANS will be asked to become ‘tourists in their own city’ when lockdown restrictions are lifted as part of a campaign to boost the tourism and hospitality sectors.

The industries have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with hotels, shops, pubs and clubs forced to close.

Glasgow Life reports leisure and business tourism contributes more than £660m to the city’s economy annually and supports 30,000 jobs.

Depute leader of Glasgow City Council, David McDonald, who is also the chairman of Glasgow Life, said saving those job has “got to be our key focus”.

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A Glasgow Tourism and Events Response Group has been set up to draw expertise from across the private and public sectors.

The group includes representatives from the city council, Greater Glasgow Hotels Association, Glasgow’s Leading Attractions, Glasgow Restaurants Association, Glasgow Airport, Visit Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

Mr McDonald emphasised Glaswegians are still being asked to follow current guidance and travel no more than five miles.

But as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, with more changes possible next week, a marketing campaign will encourage people to explore the city.

The councillor said Glasgow has “fantastic architecture, amazing parks, shops and great restaurants offering takeaway food”.

He hopes residents will discover “hidden gems” in their own neighbourhoods and visit other parts of the city.

Queen’s Park and Govanhill was named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the UK by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller last week and Mr McDonald suggested people might choose to visit there as well as popular areas such as Finnieston.

The organisation has set out four phases – Respond, Reset, Restart and Recovery – and is now moving from a “complete pause” to “proactive steps for restart”.

Mr McDonald said a ‘Kitemark’ style safety system could be introduced so it is clear when a premises has been checked and is safe to use.

A night-time economy group has been looking at the challenges in the hospitality industry, including how the council can be “more flexible” around licensing and planning rules, which would allow venues to have street space for social distancing.

Mr McDonald said: “There’s no doubt that Covid-19 will fundamentally change the global tourism industry and there’s a number of emerging factors for us to consider in developing our destination marketing activities to support the city’s recovery.

“All the evidence points to domestic markets being the first to recover, so our initial focus will be on activity that brings our citizens out to support local businesses and then attracts the day-trip and Scottish staycation markets.”

He added it was key “that Glaswegians have their voices heard” and encouraged people to contact their councillors if they have ideas.

During the lockdown, Glasgow Life has shared content online to ‘shine a light on the city’s online shopping and food and drink scenes’.

It is also planning to showcase ‘the great outdoor experiences and spaces that Glasgow has to offer’.

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Mr McDonald said: “As we move through the different phases of recovery our marketing emphasis will transition from local to national and then international.

“The competition will be even tougher than before, so it will be critical that we’re back in market at the earliest opportunity to keep Glasgow’s profile high.

“We’ll be closely monitoring consumer insights to ensure that our messaging will both inspire and reassure citizens and visitors, particularly in the short term.”

Craig Martin, chairman of Experience Glasgow, which is also part of the recovery group, added: “The group brings together the experience and expertise from the leaders of the city’s key tourism and hospitality groups and will be crucial in helping Glasgow navigate its way through the Covid-19 crisis.

“It will also provide industry with a collaborative platform where we can share information and best practice with each other as well as help form a robust and coordinated recovery plan for the sector.”