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A crowd of people in Exeter High Street with buses and John Lewis in the background

The UK Powerhouse report by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) has revealed that Exeter has one of the fastest growing economies in the country and the fastest growing economy in the South West.

The city saw year-on-year GVA growth of 1.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2019 – placing it in seventh place overall in the UK. City Council Leader Phil Bialyk said the results were great news for the city:

“Once again, Exeter continues to punch above its weight, outperforming many much bigger cities. It’s great to see Exeter gaining national recognition for the strength of its economy, which benefits everyone in the city.”

This report was obviously commissioned before the global pandemic which has devastated economies across the world. However, there is a silver lining for Exeter. Exeter is considered to be one of the cities most likely to recover from the pandemic due to its large domestic travel base, as well as its pull as a popular leisure destination within the UK. Exeter attracts a significant amount of tourism through its historical sites such as Exeter Cathedral, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the Exeter Quay. Furthermore, Exeter has a favourable hotel market structure, with a high percentage of both budget and branded hotels; two factors which will contribute to a quicker recovery timeline.

But most importantly is the fact that Exeter has a strong collaborative culture which seeks to ensure that Exeter recovers and continues on the path of growth it was on pre-pandemic. Exeter City Council in collaboration with some of the city’s key businesses and organisations have recently published the city’s recovery plan.

The plan acknowledges that the character of Exeter’s economy is different from the rest of the South-West region and roots the plan in the locality to ensure a supportive, joined-up framework for the city. A coordinated effort, informed by local knowledge is key to minimising economic damage and shaping the recovery. It is a testament to Exeter’s spirit of collaboration that so many organisations have come together to work on this plan. And it stands us in good stead for the future.