As the festive season gets into full swing, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive James Berresford reflects on what his organisation has been working on over the past year.
As we turn our thoughts toward Christmas and a well-earned break, it’s a great opportunity for us to look back and reflect on what our organisation has been working on over the past 12 months.
One of our focus areas has been assessing the impact of the first year of our Regional Growth Funded programme, Growing Tourism Locally. Through this investment programme we’ve worked with destinations across England and I’m delighted to announce that results to date show we have generated £98million in additional tourism spend and just under 2000 tourism jobs.
Local areas from Bath to Northumberland launched specific marketing campaigns in 2012 to stimulate consumer spending. Cumbria’s activity saw some breath-taking images of the Lake District at rail and underground stations around the capital. Nottingham launched a campaign called ‘In Notts we Love’ using local legends to promote this beautiful city. And York launched a campaign called ‘York Wrapped Up’ promoting short breaks to the city.
These local campaigns were then supported by a range of national activity promoting the things that England is best loved for: our world envied heritage, our culture, our beautiful coastlines and our vibrant cities. Over 50 destinations were involved in these thematic campaigns and results for this marketing activity will be available in the New Year.
Government support for tourism is vital for its continued growth and this investment is a great example of what additional support can achieve at a local level – driving job growth and contributing to the health of local economies. Funded by £19.8million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and contributions from VisitEngland and local public and private sector partners, this exciting three-year programme aims to generate £365million in additional tourism spend and over 9,000 jobs over the three year period.
I cannot underplay the importance of working together for the greater good. ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ has brought together English destinations from all over the country, the private sector and the public sector to contribute to a shared agenda, and these results show that together we have made a difference.
I am looking forward to seeing both the programmes activities and outcomes over its next two years, which I know will be even bigger and better and will contribute to our ultimate goal of supporting the growth of one of this country’s most dynamic, agile and exciting industries!