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HERITAGE TOURISM IN ENGLAND’S NORTH WEST REPORT FOR NORTHWEST DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, ENGLISH HERITAGE AND NATIONAL TRUST

AUGUST 2010


BLUE SAIL HERITAGE TOURISM

AUGUST 2010

CONTENTS 1

THE PROJECT .................................................................................. 3

2

INSIGHTS .......................................................................................... 4

3

THE ROLE OF HERITAGE IN TOURISM .......................................... 5

4

HERITAGE IN THE NORTH WEST ................................................... 8

5

WHAT THE MARKET THINKS .......................................................... 9

6

IMPLICATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................... 12

7

ILLUSTRATIONS OF GOOD PRACTICE ........................................ 21

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1 THE PROJECT Blue Sail and Bluegrass Research were appointed by Northwest Development Agency, English Heritage and the National Trust to undertake a market-focused review and appraisal of the North West’s heritage assets and how they should be used to support the visitor economy. The project followed the process shown on the right. The work was managed by a project group from the Agency, English Heritage and the National Trust on behalf of the Northwest Heritage Tourism Steering Group. This report is for heritage attractions, local authorities and place makers providing insights into the role heritage currently plays – and could play - in the region’s tourism offer. The last section draws out implications and recommendations for action on the delivery of heritage experiences, how they are marketed and their role in placemaking. Available separately is a Heritage Tourism Working Paper which provides our review of the research, the heritage product in the North West, current marketing and good practice in heritage tourism marketing. Also available are two slide presentations (entitled Heritage Tourism Interim Presentation March 2010 and Heritage Tourism Final Presentation) made to the project steering group; the latter details the focus group research. The Working Paper and Presentations can be downloaded from http://www.nwtourism.net. A QUICK SUMMARY The North West’s heritage cities, towns and attractions, while benefiting substantially over the last decade from investment, are still not in the premier league of UK heritage attractors. Liverpool stands out as the place with the best opportunity to establish itself as an international heritage city. To make the most of the region’s heritage assets for tourism will require responding to the needs of the market to deliver new types of experiences at heritage attractions and a focus on outstanding public realm and placemaking in historic cities, towns and villages to ensure historic buildings are used to create a distinctive environment, full of character. Heritage experiences in attractions need to be entertaining and interactive, part of a wider set of things to do and linked strongly to the destinations in which they are located. The marketing needs to directly reflect this through its content of words and images, and the channels used.

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2 INSIGHTS Here are the key insights which emerged from the project.  People perceive a limited number of ‘top heritage brands’ in the UK outside London – places like Edinburgh, Bath, Oxford and attractions like Warwick Castle, Ironbridge and York Minster. None of the North West’s heritage attractions and places is in this top league.  Most people have a very traditional idea of heritage – it is castles, stately homes, ancient streets and buildings. 

North West heritage places and attractions struggle for awareness in the minds of potential visitors looking for heritage experiences.

 Heritage is not the North West’s strongest offer – other associations are more front-of-mind and more appealing. Destinations have to play their aces if they are to successfully attract people– in the North West these aces are not often heritage  People connect the North West with industrial heritage but it has a limited appeal - unless it is fun like Ironbridge or Beamish.  Hadrian’s Wall did not emerge as a significant asset for the North West – it is more associated with the North East, and even then is not yet established as a major visitor destination  North West residents are more enthusiastic about what the region has to offer – but this enthusiasm tends to be focused on their immediate area  Decisions about breaks and holidays are made primarily on place (and people need reassurance there will be enough things to do or are unlikely to take the risk) rather than on individual attractions and themes. Very few attractions are strong enough to drive visits in their own right. Themes (by themselves) don’t work. Themes and stories are more appropriately used to give a place (or an attraction) personality and identity.  Often heritage is a backdrop - picturesque streetscapes in which to shop, eat or stroll. A clean, high quality public realm with wellrestored and used historic buildings is a fundamental requirement for a heritage destination. 

Even for those who are interested in a deeper heritage experience it will only be part of ‘filling a day’.

 The best prospects for heritage attractions are Empty Nesters and Families.  Heritage experiences must be tangible, entertaining, lively and fun.  Deals and special offers – accommodation, travel, add-ons - are extremely important in driving visits. Heritage experiences alone will generally not.

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3 THE ROLE OF HERITAGE IN TOURISM We know that heritage – places, sites and attractions – are a hugely significant part of tourism in the UK. While few would ever say they were going on a ‘heritage short break’ (as they might say they were going on a walking or shopping trip) it is true that for many visitors heritage is important – as a cultural experience in its own right or as a backdrop to other activities. Here are a few headlines which illustrate the role heritage plays. International  Britain’s culture and heritage attracts £4.5bn of inbound visitor spend. Direct spend on culture and heritage products and experiences (tickets and spend at attractions and events) is £500m (VisitBritain Culture & Heritage Topic Profile 2010)  Britain is perceived internationally to have a core strength in its history and heritage offer  Internationally, Britain is ranked 4th best nation (out of 50) for its built heritage and 7th for its cultural heritage (2009 Anholt Nation Brands Index)  ...and heritage and culture are important influencers of choice of holiday destinations for international travellers  But their perception of heritage is very traditional – favouring royal castles, historic homes  The North West underperforms in heritage visits from international markets relative to other regions (International Passenger Survey on www.visitbritain.org) see table right..

:

Destinations Shopping Visiting castles, churches, monuments, historic houses Going to Pub Museums & art galleries Visiting parks and gardens

All ‘one region holidays’

67% 57% 52% 46% 45%

North West

60% 33% 57% 30% 25%

National  63% of UK adult population visit heritage attractions (Mintel)  The core market (amounting to 20% of the total market) accounts for half of all visits taken and are: ABC1

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Affluent Well-educated Middle-older aged Active travellers and holiday takers  Museums are most popular; Stately Homes / Castles next; Art Galleries follow North West  Numbers taking at least 2 visits per year in the North West are exactly on a par with national average – 57% (Heritage Counts 2009)  Visits to attractions in the North West grew by 13% in 2008 – highest growth in the country – impact of Capital of Culture  Visiting attractions is an important activity for day and staying visitors  Despite not being a prime motivator for visits ‘heritage’ attractions figure strongly in the list of major attractions across the Region playing their part in providing a range of ‘things to do’ for locals and visitors (NWDA Visitor Attractions 2008 Report): see right  Museums & Art Galleries (with Leisure & Theme Parks) are most popular (28% share of visits each); Historic Houses / Houses & Gardens/ Palaces rank next (12%) (NWDA Visitor Attractions 2008 Report)

Attraction

Chester Zoo Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness Tate Liverpool Merseyside Maritime Museum Liverpool Museum Tatton Park International Slavery Museum The Walker Manchester Art Gallery Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

Free or Paid P

2007 visitors

2008 visitors

YoY change

1 233 044

1 259 173

26 129

P P F F P F F F

1 274 976 648 029 603 907 719 961 780 000 76 365 255 028 393 650

1 199 216 1 088 504 1 020 712 787 767 772 000 414 480 396 356 394 205

-75 760 440 475 416 805 67 806 -8000 338 115 141 328 555

F

269 984

364 347

94 363

 The majority (over 75%) of tourist days in the Region are day visits (265 million in 2008) – 11% of which were motivated by visiting an attraction (=27 million visits) (STEAM 2008)  30% of staying visitors include a visit to an historical / heritage attraction in their visit...(NWDA Destination Profiles)  ...and a further 17% visit artistic / cultural attractions

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Marketing  Key ArkLeisure segments with an interest in heritage and artistic/ cultural attractions are : Cosmopolitans High Street Traditionals Functionals

Market trends

 Cosmopolitans and Traditionals are already important segments across most of the North West’s destinations  The region’s heritage offer is being presented in a range of ways History & heritage Heritage & culture Through towns and villages – particularly in Cumbria Through attractions – particularly in Cheshire Trails – particularly in Lancashire Themes – e.g. Liverpool’s Maritime Heritage and Industrial Powerhouse

Celebrity culture

Search for the authentic – “real” experiences

Growing popularity of cities

Desire for “the new” Intergeneration travel Niche marketing channels

Affinity groups Older parents & younger kids

Blockbuster exhibitions

Social media

User generated content

Heritage on TV

 The marketing of heritage is becoming very sophisticated – good examples include Bath, Bordeaux, Historic Royal Palaces, World Heritage Sites campaign on TripAdvisor1 and using e-comms and social media effectively (see Section 7 for some examples and our Working Paper for our review of good practice2)  Market trends (see summary right) are strongly influencing the appeal of heritage attractions and what people are looking for from them

1 2

www.tripadvisor.com/WorldHeritage Heritage Tourism Working Paper March 2010 available from http://www.nwtourism.net

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4 HERITAGE IN THE NORTH WEST Here is an overview of heritage tourism in the North West and the potential opportunities which were identified for further exploration in the focus groups.

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5 WHAT THE MARKET THINKS We undertook qualitative research to:  Understand how the current North West heritage offer is perceived  Establish where the strengths and opportunities might lie – and test some of our assumptions  Test how the offer might be positioned  Explore important influences, motivators, drivers that may be useful in its positioning and marketing  Explore how places, attractions and themes interacted We ran six groups of 48 people in total, selected from the most promising market segments using ArkLeisure segments by lifestage:  Manchester – Traditional Empty Nesters & High Street Families  Bradford – Cosmopolitan Families & High Street Pre-families  Birmingham - Traditional Empty Nesters & Cosmopolitan Pre-families High Streets tend to be under-represented in terms of their interest in the North West so we included them to explore extending the market. We also included pre-families to establish the opportunities they might present for new types of heritage offer. We were most interested in the views of the ‘interested and informed visitor’ so all had undertaken some kind of heritage activity while on a break or day trip and all had been to the North West. Below are the headlines from the wealth of information gathered from the focus groups. More detail can be found in Heritage Tourism Slide Presentation 2 available from http://www.nwtourism.net.

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The role of heritage activities in short breaks, holidays and day trips:  We found that lifestage rather than ArkLeisure segment was the key driver and differentiator of motivations and activities pursued.

Shopping Eating

 Families and Empty Nesters were more interested in heritage activities  But across all groups variety was a fundamental requirement – everyone was looking to ‘Fill a Day’ - with heritage usually mixed with other activities

Drinking

Variety

Activities

Walking

Outdoors

Picnics

Galleries / cultural activities

Castles

Variety

Museums

Socialising

Slower pace

Fun with friends

The themes or types of experiences people expressed most interest in were…  Traditional heritage of Houses & Gardens and Museums

Pre-family Fun and excitement

Typically with partner

Family Something for the children

Empty Nester Enjoying company of friends & family

There was some interest in…  Industrial Revolution & Social History (which they grouped together)  Film & TV locations (but only the really well-known ones)  Galleries (but usually without children)  Recent history (60s, 70s, 80s) and musical heritage (if there is something real to see) But for all types of themes people were looking for fun, entertainment and interactivity.

There was little interest expressed in…  Architecture  Cathedrals  Literary greats  Celebrities of their time

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When asked about the North West:  The main destinations emerged – but not for heritage reasons other than Liverpool Waterfront  Heritage activities and attractions are not front of mind as a motivator or driver of visits  Even when prompted, people found it difficult to say a lot about the heritage offer of the North West

Reasons to go… • Shop

The Northwest is… • Blackpool (lights/tower) • Manchester (shopping, music, nightlife) • Liverpool (The Beatles, The Docks) • Lake District

• Concert • Theatre

“You don’t really think of Liverpool as being historical – it’s more sort of modern.” Cosmo, pre-family, Birmingham

“I wouldn’t necessarily go Northwest for attractions. The reason I go Northwest is the Lake District – that sort of stuff.” Cosmo, family, Bradford

“If I wanted to go somewhere like that [house & garden] I wouldn’t look to the Northwest for it.” Cosmo, family, Bradford

“The redevelopment of Manchester & Liverpool means you see less heritage.” Cosmo pre-family, Birmingham

“I wouldn’t associate Northwest with museums.” Trad, Empty-nester, Birmingham

• Beach/seaside • Walking

• Shopping

• The Lakes

• Football • Chester Zoo

Northwest heritage…? • Textiles / textile industry • Chester • The Cavern Club • Blackpool Tower • Museums (Manchester group)

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6 IMPLICATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS The project has revealed the complexity of using heritage assets to support and promote tourism. Our recommendations are consequently multi-layered with differing relevance to different organisations. We have identified recommendations and lessons for attractions, for local authorities and those who manage or invest in placemaking and regeneration, and for those who market places especially the Tourist Boards. Clearly cuts in public funding and changes to organisational structures supporting heritage and tourism will create a very different operating environment in future. The recommendations and implications on the following pages take this into account. What would make most difference is:  For heritage attractions to provide experiences which are interactive and entertaining,  Marketing heritage attractions allied to the place they are located and to provide reassurance that there is enough in that place to ‘fill a day’.  Using themes and stories to give personality and texture to a destination or attraction rather than lead with them as a reason to visit  For local authorities and place makers to preserve and utilise historic buildings which give character and personality to their cities, towns and villages and to ensure this is supported by an outstanding public realm to create the best environment for residents and visitors alike to enjoy  Recognising and establishing Liverpool as an outstanding, diverse, heritage city with national and international appeal - through effective positioning and marketing. FOR HERITAGE ATTRACTIONS … These thoughts and recommendations are for owners and managers of individual and groups of attractions. 1. Marketing of heritage tourism should be directed at the segments that are the best prospects. They are a. Empty Nesters – particularly Traditionals and Cosmopolitans b. Families – especially Cosmopolitans and High Streets

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2. If heritage attractions are to be successful tourist attractions they must ensure they meet the expectations of the most promising target groups. We found that lifestage is the key determinant of engagement in heritage experiences; those most interested are the empty nesters – especially those who are well educated and relatively well-off3 – and families with children. Family groups are driven by the interests of the children – if the kids are happy the trip will be a success. Post-family visitors, typically visiting as couples, are interested in a variety of cultural and heritage things but like to take things at a relaxed pace; good food and surroundings are important. So first-rate catering and retail is not only a way to generate extra income, it is an essential part of the experience. Segmentation of the retail and catering offer to meet different market needs is also worth considering. 3. But all visitors want their visits to be fun, entertaining and interactive. There is evidence that many heritage attractions fail to make the grade – they come over as dull, stuffy, perhaps too conservation-minded and academic4. It is worrying that so few North West heritage attractions were identified as must-sees, even by people in the region. The places cited in focus groups included Ironbridge, Beamish, Warwick Castle, Jorvik and the Westwood exhibition at the V&A which are all very accessible and entertaining experiences. North West attractions need to present heritage in an equally appealing way. Period reconstructions, dressing up and demonstrations are not new ideas but they still seem to have widespread appeal. The use of technology has revolutionised opportunities for interpretation and engagement. Historic homes in particular are yet to adopt these in innovative ways. Human interest and personal stories are a powerful ways to engage audiences – families, relationships, scandal and the detail of everyday life being generally of more interest than facts, figures and machines. 4. Our research confirmed that one of the main heritage strengths of the North West is its industrial heritage. However it also confirmed that the appeal of industrial heritage is limited unless attractions work particularly hard to make sure that the experiences delivered are imaginative, engaging and interactive.

3

Mintel Heritage Tourism 2008, (summarised by NWDA) indicates that approximately one fifth of the population accounts for half of all visits to heritage attractions, and the typical profile is ABC1s, affluent, well-educated, middle-aged or older and active travellers and holiday-takers. 4

Mintel Heritage Tourism 2008 reported that 27% think heritage attractions are too expensive, 21% of families agree these attractions are too boring for children and 17% agree that not every visitor wants the full heritage experience – simply seeing the attraction can be enough, rather than learning all the history and background. These views were reinforced in the focus groups we ran.

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5. It is imperative that heritage attractions are presented in close alliance with places. We found that decisions about trips and holidays are mostly driven by perceptions of a destination. An attraction by itself will not generally convince anyone to make a special trip of any distance. But it can help to create a ‘full day out’ in that destination, together with ideas for shopping, eating and socialising. The use of vouchers and discounts (especially popular with family groups) working with other attractions and accommodation will help to drive visits and extend the experience on offer. 6. There are significant advantages to attractions working in collaboration in ‘clusters’. This can provide an effective vehicle for marketing and promotions, cross-selling, reassurance for visitors that there will be enough to do in a place, sharing of best practice and potentially sharing of resources 7. We found that the National Trust and English Heritage have very strong brand recognition and appeal. While known for their castles and period properties it would be productive if they were able extend their offer into other categories of heritage. A good example of this is the National Trust taking on the homes of former Beatles in Liverpool. Even given the public funding climate it may be worth exploring more creative arrangements and partnerships with local authorities. 8. It might have been expected that Hadrian’s Wall – as a unique heritage attraction with world heritage status – would have emerged as a strong attractor. The fact that it didn’t indicates that there is still a lot to do in terms of its marketing and the experiences it delivers to address lack of awareness and establish it as a major visitor destination. It is also fair to say that it is largely associated with North East England where most of the visitor-facing experiences are. 9. It is clear from consultation that considerable time and resource is going into Heritage Open Days in the North West, especially in urban areas such as Greater Manchester, Chester, Blackpool, Lancaster and Liverpool. The activity appears to be focussed on local awareness and attendance. 75% of visits in 2009 were by people who ‘live locally’ (although ‘local’ has not been defined). Heritage Open Days may well make people feel more positive about their environment and their heritage but it is not obvious that they are attracting visitors from further afield or creating much economic benefit. They may help support ‘VFR’ (visiting friends and relatives) tourism by encouraging residents to revisit with friends and relatives. If heritage open days are to drive tourism then more needs to be done to market them to visitors or encourage VFR through repeat visit offers and incentives.

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FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND PLACEMAKERS … These thoughts and recommendations are directed at local authorities, economic partnerships and other agencies that have responsibilities for the upkeep, development and quality of places. A general but crucial point is that a place that is great to live in will generally also be a great place to visit. 1. Placemaking should include the preservation and productive use of heritage buildings, parks and public spaces and arguably this is a more important role for local authorities than the promotion of visitor attractions5. North West Development Agency has undertaken a significant amount of work to support place shaping and destination management and the approaches and lessons advocated in their publication ‘Creating Great Destinations in England’s North West’ are relevant and useful to making the most of heritage assets.6 2. An important conclusion from our research is that the North West does not currently have a major heritage city with international awareness and appeal. But we believe Liverpool has that potential with its outstanding waterfront, cluster of museums and cultural attractions, architecture, contemporary heritage and World Heritage Site status. It has used the City of Culture accolade to raise its standing and it should be a priority to keep up that momentum through creative promotion. Public and private partnerships have been formed to manage and promote character areas – the Waterfront, Hope Street, RopeWalks and the Baltic Triangle – and could be a pattern for other cities to emulate. 1. Chester lays claim to be a major heritage city and benefits from a long established reputation. However in reality it has insufficient depth of heritage product and experiences to compete with the likes of Bath and York. It lacks a critical mass of things to see and do to make a short break destination. It needs a stronger heritage attraction or attractions, perhaps picking up its Roman history, and more could be made of the Cathedral and immediate area and the public realm generally. Given the lack of likelihood of funding for new attractions, heritage-focused festivals may offer a good short term opportunity to strengthen the offer.

5

The conclusion of the report on the Economic Value of Heritage in the North West (Amion, Locum and Young for NWDA) is that heritage townscapes (as opposed to individual sites or attractions) are the most significant drivers of economic impact. And that far greater economic benefit is achieved by business, cultural or other uses of heritage buildings than by ‘heritage attractions’. 6

‘Creating Great Destinations’ is available from http://www.nwda.co.uk/media-library/publications/quality-of-life/creating-great-destinations.aspx

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2. Manchester meanwhile styles itself as the ‘Original Modern’ city which acknowledges the strength of history that has made it the exciting contemporary place it is today. Heritage may not be the prime motivator for most visitors but it adds richness to the experience. It has an exceptional collection of museums, galleries and libraries while the development of the ‘medieval Manchester’ theme around Chethams School and the Cathedral would add further depth. 3. Lancaster and Carlisle are fine historic cities that have not so far achieved much profile as visitor destinations. Their chief asset is a well preserved core of Georgian and earlier buildings around a castle. Perhaps the key challenge for both cities is to improve the public realm in the historic core as a distinctive backdrop for everyday life as well as an attractive place to visit. Both can use the heritage with their attractions, themes and stories to differentiate themselves. In Lancaster the possibility that the Castle may be released from prison use would be an outstanding opportunity for the local authorities and others to create a heritage destination. 4. Resorts – in particular Blackpool, Morecambe, St. Annes and Southport - are an important part of the North West’s heritage and are part of the story of the growth of the region’s cities and towns. Despite longer term decline they are still major destinations for day and staying visitors. The mass market resorts - Blackpool especially have heritage of a particular kind - the Tower, Winter Gardens, pier, music halls and theatres. While it is doubtful how far heritage is a motivator for their core markets it gives resorts their particular character. Again this suggests that the quality of the public realm and historic buildings is crucial to supporting that character and should be a priority. 5. Market towns are generally attractive places but as destinations may not offer a strong enough hook or enough to fill a day. They should present themselves as centres of clusters of attractions and activities. So for example Knutsford should ally itself to Tatton and other Cheshire attractions while Clitheroe can be a centre for visitors to the Forest of Bowland. 6. The North West has several medium to large industrial or post-industrial towns that are eager to develop their visitor economy – such as Bolton, Bury, Preston, Stockport and St Helens. While their industries have given them their distinctive character it is evident that ‘industrial heritage’ does not have a great appeal if presented in those terms. Their challenge is to create towns and places with some style that incorporate and use heritage buildings, public spaces, canal basins etc to support present day business and public life – rather than to preserve too much as museums or exhibits that will be difficult to sustain. 7. Heritage experiences don’t have to be in a museum or an historic house. While heritage acts as a backdrop in towns and cities creating areas of beauty and character, it can also provide a distinctive and appealing environment for activities – walking and cycling along canals or climbing the via ferrata at Honister in Cumbria.

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8. Finally a word about World Heritage Site status, in which a number of local authorities have expressed interest. A recent study of WHS sites internationally,’7 suggests that while only between 5-10% of World Heritage Sites were motivated by socio-economic objectives, the evidence shows that the economic benefit is small with inscription having a positive impact on visitor numbers of only 0-3%. The report points out that with effective marketing WHS status might be useful in attracting a great number of higher value cultural visitors. The high cost of the process and the likely economic benefit means that for most destinations WHS inscription is unlikely to be worth the cost and effort if assessed solely in terms of visitor spend.

7

‘WHS Status: is there economic gain? Report for Lake District World Heritage Project

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FOR HERITAGE MARKETING … These thoughts and recommendations are intended particularly for Tourist Boards, heritage agencies and others - when marketing destinations or themes rather than individual attractions. 1. Marketing should generally lead with a destination. 2. Even a destination with a strong heritage offer needs to be presented as ‘a good day out’ with opportunities for shopping, eating, exercise or relaxation. Potential visitors need information to reassure them that there is enough to do and see in a destination to make the trip worthwhile and that their experience will be worth it. 3. The marketing of heritage needs to be creative and personal to counter perceptions of heritage as dull and worthy. Strong images of heritage buildings and townscapes is an effective way to communicate the heritage message without labouring it. And heritage images with a contemporary spin – like those promoting Bath - convey a very different tone and feel from traditional heritage. The use of social media – like the Royal Historic Palaces Henry VIII’s blog or Museum of Modern Art on twitter – also counter the dull and worthy image. 4. A cluster of attractions in or around a destination is generally a more compelling proposition than a thematic cluster because most visitors focus on a destination. 5. Themes and stories are best used to give personality and texture to a destination or attraction as they tend not to act as a reason to visit in themselves. 6. The research revealed no awareness of the ‘Industrial Powerhouse’ theme. This, alongside often negative attitudes to industrial heritage and the responses to themes generally, support the development of a new approach to the marketing of the region’s industrial heritage. 7. Research suggests that provided there is a good day out on offer visitors will travel up to 1.5 to 2 hours ; so there are opportunities to extend the range of marketing for day visitors beyond the immediate 30 minutes travel time and exploit on the evident pride residents have in their area.

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8. Vouchers, added value deals, creative pricing and discounts that link attractions together are effective and particularly influential with family groups for generating single and repeat visits. 9. Each destination must play its strongest cards to attract visitors. For many places in the North West heritage is not the main attractor and should not be lead message about the destination. But almost every place has some historic or cultural interest that can be part of the mix that makes for a fulfilling experience. 10. The needs of the real heritage enthusiasts are best met by the web which can provide rich detail and in e-comms targeting specific interest groups. From our product audit the North West emerges relatively strongly in the niche areas of family history, vernacular buildings, landscape & farming, libraries, regimental history, literary connections, music and transport. 11. Faith tourism is receiving attention and support from destination management organisations but research suggests its appeal is quite narrow and only a few visitors are motivated by it. It may be a low volume /high value segment but further visitor research and evaluation would be valuable to establish its impact. However cathedrals do attract large numbers of visitors. By providing (mostly) free entry to magnificent buildings they play an important role as part of ‘things to do’ as well as giving character and substance to a place. In the North West Liverpool in particular benefits from two iconic cathedrals. 12. While the North West has a good music and literary heritage for these to be successfully marketed there needs to be real product on the ground for visitors to experience.

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SUPPORTING IMPLEMENTATION Taking forward the suggested direction outlined in this report lies with many different organisations at many different levels. Some will be concerned with direct delivery, while others will be more concerned with influencing policy or investment. To encourage and support the role that the heritage assets of the North West play in tourism we suggest a continuing role for the Heritage Tourism Steering Group which comprises NWDA, English Heritage, National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and is chaired by a representative of the North West’s Tourist Boards. This group should meet 2 or 3 times per year and  Take a strategic overview of the heritage sector and its contribution to tourism  Foster collaboration at regional and sub-regional level  Oversee the implementation of these recommendations  Persuade, influence and lobby

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7 ILLUSTRATIONS OF GOOD PRACTICE The Working Paper and Slide Presentations referred to in section 1 provide a review of good practice in using and marketing heritage assets. Here are some of those referenced in the previous section and provide a summary of key areas for action.

Using powerful images to show heritage and character without words – Bath (see http://visitbath.co.uk)

Offers: vouchers and deals among clusters to drive visits and encourage repeat

Making it personal and creative: Historic Palaces Henry VIII blog and Museum of Modern Art on twitter (see www.hrp.org.uk)

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HERITAGE AS BACKDROP

Activities - Via Ferrata, Honister, Cumbria

Hotels, restaurants and pubs with character

Eating and shopping in historic environment

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Heritage experiences have to be fun, interactive and entertaining

More alternative heritage properties; like National Trust’s Beatles’ houses

Maximising secondary spend – catering and retail

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Liverpool: world-class collection of heritage assets

Blackpool, Morecambe, Southport: Resorts where heritage gives character and personality

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Disclaimer: All information and analysis supplied by Blue Sail Consulting Ltd and our sub-contractors is done in good faith and represents our professional judgement based on the information obtained from the client and elsewhere. The achievement of recommendations, forecasts and valuations depend on factors beyond our control. Any projections, financial or otherwise, in this report are only intended to illustrate particular points of argument and do not constitute forecasts of actual performance

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PP Research Bluegrass Bluesail Research for NWDA  

Blue Sail and Bluegrass Research were appointed by Northwest Development Agency, English Heritage and the National Trust to undertake a mark...

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