New plan for tourism growth across the Cotswolds
Growing the value of tourism to the local economy, local communities and the environment and enhancing its performance as a top destination in England are at the core of a new Destination Management Plan for the Cotswolds which is currently being circulated for consultation among tourism businesses and organisations.
Following the recent announcement by local enterprise partnership GFirst that they will be handing over the remit for tourism to a new partnership, the local authorities of Cheltenham, Cotswolds, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury and West Oxfordshire together with the Cotswolds Conservation Board have stepped in to work together towards a smooth transition and ensure continued support for tourism across the area. The development of a new Destination Management Plan which sets out the vision for tourism and key priorities for action has been a fundamental first step towards this process.
The need for a more joined-up approach for tourism across the Cotswolds, worth £1billion to the local economy, was highlighted two years ago during a visit by the former Tourism Minister John Penrose MP. It was reinforced last year at the Cotswolds Tourism Forum where VisitEngland and industry representatives agreed to support the development of a new plan that brings the private and public sectors together to help the area achieve its full potential as a top visitor destination.
Jason Freezer, Head of Destination Management at VisitEngland fully supports the development of a Cotswolds plan: "The Cotswolds is one of England's most popular visitor destinations which has the potential to generate significant income from both domestic and international visitors to this country. We are fully behind the new plan and are looking forward to working with the Cotswolds towards the development of a new partnership."
The plan is based upon a Cotswolds-wide approach as viewed from the perspective of the visitor. The new partnership will be working to promote all parts of the Cotswolds both rural and urban. It will also seek to work collaboratively with neighbouring brands such as Bath, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon in attracting international visitors.
One of the leading visitor attractions in the Cotswolds also welcomes the new way forward. Susie Hunt of Batsford Arboretum said: "As a tourism business that is located in Gloucestershire, yet close to the Oxfordshire and Warwickshire borders, we welcome a more co-ordinated approach across the region and one which understands the needs of businesses like ours. A single Destination Management Plan for the Cotswolds makes a great deal of sense for both the industry and, importantly, our visitors.”
For further information and to download a copy of the draft Cotswolds Destination Management Plan, click here.
For further information:
Hayley Beer on behalf of Cotswolds Tourism: