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The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest 2003 - 2010

Revised 2007

Developing the Visitor Economy



Contents The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest 2003 - 2010

Page 1 The Tourism Vision


2 Strategic Aims


3 Sustainable Development


4 Strategic Objectives


4.1 Quality of Life


4.2 Superior Skills


4.3 Sense of Place


4.4 Signature Projects


4.5 Signature Events


4.6 Easy Access


4.7 The Attack Brand Approach


4.8 The Power of Information


5 Putting the Strategy into Practice


6 Next Steps



The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy


This strategy updates the original Tourism Strategy for England’s Northwest that was published in June 2003. It is the result of a mid-term review rather than a full reassessment of the sector and its competitive position. A full review will take place in 2010. The 2003 strategy has given inspiration and guidance to the agencies that support tourism in the region and the businesses that provide for our visitors. Some of the ambitions in the strategy have already been realised, good progress has been made on many, while others have proved more challenging. Overall there has been substantial investment in tourism, the establishment of robust and effective support structures and, crucially, recognition of the contribution that tourism and the visitor economy make to the economic prosperity of England’s Northwest. The experience of these first three years, the production of a new Regional Economic Strategy (RES), and the national consultation associated with the 2012 Olympic Games are all reasons for reviewing and refining the 2003 strategy, and have all been drivers of this mid-term review. This revised strategy is designed to: • Strengthen the region’s focus on offering some of the best visitor destinations in the UK; • Connect with the growing importance being attached to the role of local authorities in place-shaping; • Ensure that work is aligned with both the new national thinking on tourism, and with the Regional Economic Strategy, and; • To give centre stage to the principles of sustainable development.


1/ The Tourism Vision

The tourism vision for England’s Northwest is that within ten years, it offers our visitors real excellence and superb experiences, wherever they go, and has a thriving visitor economy that is second to none.

Providing Real Excellence The ambitions set out below underpin the vision and will be used to drive quantitative targets at the sub-regional level, through the process of destination management planning that is led by each of the five tourist boards.

Providing real excellence and superb experiences means: •

Being able to offer the best quality experiences to our visitors, because we have gained a detailed, in depth understanding of what they are seeking

Providing service that is of the highest quality; doing that little bit more than people expect

Having excellent, prize winning hotels and other places at which visitors can stay

Providing wonderful food and drink, using local produce as much as possible

A public realm that is characterised by high quality design that in places is exceptional

A region-wide programme of events and festivals that celebrate our historical, cultural and environmental diversity

Having a productive, highly talented workforce

Demonstrating through action that we really care for our environment and for the people who visit our region and its destinations

Doing all of this for ourselves too, because being proud of our region and enjoying living here are essential ingredients of a great quality of life

Generating economic and social benefits for our communities and for the region as a whole by adding value in all that we do


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

Why Tourism Matters England’s Northwest is home to some wonderful places and some of the best businesses in the world. Research however shows that the region is still underperforming when it comes to convincing people to choose to visit. To be noticed, we need to lead with the best. We must encourage and assist those places and businesses that want to improve the visitor experience that they offer. The priority for action is to work with those who are already excellent, and those aspiring to excellence, as these are the businesses that will help us to achieve our vision. We have to showcase our best businesses and our best places if we are to demonstrate both what the region is capable of, and what more needs to be done to achieve our vision. Different approaches will be needed for different types of businesses and in different circumstances. Local authorities have a key role to play in ensuring that all development activity is of the best quality and adheres to high standards of design. Tourist boards will need to segment their membership and adopt an account management approach to the relationships they build with businesses, providing different products and services accordingly.

Tourists are important because of the economic and social benefits that they bring. We are all tourists at some point, and much of the tourist activity in the region is by people from the region. According to the official definition, you are a tourist whenever you go somewhere different, whether your trip lasts no more than a day or whether it lasts far longer; up to a year. You are a business tourist when work takes you to somewhere that you don’t normally go. The money we spend as tourists is what we measure when we talk about the economic value of tourism. We can think of tourists from outside the region and from outside the country as well as from within the region. And we can think of tourists who spend one or more nights here, as well as those whose trips last no more than a day. We want to encourage more people both from within and from outside the region to come and enjoy what we can offer and to spend money. Tourism is already this country’s third largest earner of foreign exchange. Nearly 8% of the country’s workforce is employed in the tourism sector, and it generates a high percentage of new jobs and provides valuable routes into work for young people. Encouraging more people from this country to be tourists here helps with our balance of payments, and can also help reduce damaging greenhouse gas emissions from long distance travel. Locally, tourism can be the focus of efforts to regenerate places, raising the quality of life for residents, generating new hope for communities and stabilising outward migration. Tourists support leisure and sports facilities and in rural areas, help to sustain local shops, pubs and other services that residents also enjoy. Tourism has a particular role in generating and sustaining artistic and other cultural activity and in supporting the care and management of our historic and natural environment.


Tourism and the Visitor Economy This is a tourism strategy, but tourism is unusual in that it is not what you buy that defines you as a tourist, but rather where you are. You are a tourist if you visit somewhere that is outside your usual environment. Of course what is usual for one person will be unusual for another. This strategy has to cover all of the places that tourists go, or may want to go, and is interested in all of the experiences that are available to them. The strategy therefore has as its focus both the people that are this region’s tourists and the places that are the destinations for those tourists. In caring for these two, we also care for the region’s residents; indeed it is ultimately their interests that are paramount, since it is for their economic and social well being that we are working. When thinking about the activity of all visitors within a destination, whether tourists or not, it is useful to have a single term that describes it; we use ‘Visitor Economy’ for this purpose. So, the quality of our public places, our parks, the transport systems, the architecture, the gateways, the parking, the cultural activity, all matter and all need to be as good as we can make them, for the sake of the tourists, the other visitors we wish to serve and local communities.

The Visitor Economy At the core of the concept of the visitor economy are all of the elements that make for a successful and sustainable destination, for both tourists and non-tourists; it embraces: •

All of the things that attract people to the place; this means the diverse range of destinations in the region, the natural environment, our heritage and culture and the places that give life to this, iconic buildings, the retail, sport and leisure facilities, food, gardens, events and scenery. In other words, all of the things that make a place special, distinctive and capable of engendering pride, therefore making it a place worth experiencing.

The infrastructure that helps to reinforce and shape the sense of place and make it an easy place to visit; the quality of design, the signs, transport, parking and orientation, interpretation, public spaces and amenities.

The services that cater for the needs of visitors, and of residents, generating economic and social activity and increasing spending; including the hotels and bars, pubs, restaurants and galleries, the everyday events and the day-to-day services that make a place clean, safe and welcoming.

To create a successful and sustainable visitor economy, we must manage all of the elements in an integrated and long-term way, with a clear focus on the needs of both the tourists we seek to attract, and the residents whose needs we serve.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

2/ Strategic Aims

The Aims of the Tourism Strategy This strategy sets out the steps needed in order to achieve our vision. It does this using a framework of six strategic aims that are strongly connected to the Regional Economic Strategy (RES). These strategic aims will guide the detailed delivery objectives of the programmes that are described here and each of the Destination Management Plans produced by the five sub-regions. The vision within the RES is of a ‘dynamic, sustainable international economy which competes on the basis of knowledge, advanced technology and an excellent quality of life for all’. It aims to achieve this vision by focusing action on three major drivers. The six strategic aims for tourism are clearly connected to these three drivers identified within the RES; they are designed to help deliver the outcomes of the RES.


The first major driver within the RES is increased productivity and a bigger market share within the region; there are three tourism strategy aims that support the delivery of this: 1 Enhanced communication with the region’s visitors; 2 Higher levels of productivity and performance from the businesses operating in the visitor economy; 3 Improved products and higher quality experiences for all of the visitors to the region. The second major driver within the RES is to grow the size and capability of the workforce, ensuring a higher proportion of those able to work do so; a single tourism strategy aim supports this: 4 For the people who work in the visitor economy to have, and to be using, improved levels of skill. The third major driver within the RES underpins the two previous drivers. It is for the region to create and maintain the conditions for the sustainable growth of the economy; two tourism strategy aims support this goal: 5 An improved infrastructure for the visitor economy; 6 For all activity related to tourism and the visitor economy to be based on the principles of sustainable development

The priority of the Regional Economic Strategy is to close the gap in Gross Value Added (GVA) between the Northwest and the English average. The region is still not contributing its full potential to the UK economy and the majority of the region’s £13 billion GVA gap is due to lower productivity. The sixth goal for tourism is an underpinning principle which needs to be a reference point for all actions and investment decisions. In support of this, a sustainable development framework for the tourism sector is being produced and will be published as a supporting document to this strategy; this will provide practical advice on all aspects of sustainable tourism.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

3/ Sustainable Development

Sustainability The Regional Economic Strategy makes a strong and clear commitment to the concept of sustainable development; this must be central to the Tourism Strategy for England’s Northwest too. This means adhering to the UK ‘Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development’: • Living within environmental limits; • Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; • Achieving a sustainable economy; • Promoting good governance, and; • Using sound science responsibly. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy identifies four priorities for UK Action: • Sustainable consumption and production; • Climate change and energy; • Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement, and; • Sustainable communities. These principles and priorities will be applied to all of the objectives described in the following sections.

Social Inclusion Tourism should and does provide opportunities for all; the objectives set out below will be achieved in a manner that strengthens social inclusion, supports the tourism for all agenda, and celebrates diversity.


4/ Strategic Objectives

The strategic objectives described below are those things that need to be achieved in order to realise the strategic aims we have set for ourselves; these revised objectives are in keeping with those set out in the original strategy. The objectives are grouped into two: the first group deals with the broad objective of creating a high quality visitor experience, and the second group covers the objective of promoting the region effectively.

The Visitor Experience Our ‘visitor experience’ objectives are to: Productivity, Performance & Quality 1: Help businesses improve their performance and the quality of the products and services that they provide; Stimulate competition, and; Overcome barriers to higher productivity, performance and quality. Superior Skills 2: Improve the skills of our workforce and the attractiveness of our sector as an employer. Sense of Place 3: Improve our public realm, and the built and natural environment. Signature Projects 4: Support and encourage projects that will transform the region’s appeal to visitors. Signature Events 5: Support and encourage a programme of sustainable events of national and international significance. Easy Access 6: Make it easer for visitors to get to, and travel around, the region.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

Attracting Visitors

The Visitor Experience

Our ‘attracting visitors’ objectives are to:

4.1 Productivity, Performance & Quality

The Attack Brand Approach 7: Use a market led approach to the promotion of the region and its destinations by focusing on attack brands and winning themes.

A strong, focussed effort is required to improve business performance, as it is this that will contribute most to closing the region’s gap in GVA identified in the RES. Our objective is to increase the ability of businesses to operate productively and profitably through the provision of high quality, high value-added products and services that our visitors want to buy and experience.

The Power of Information 8: Make it easier for visitors to plan and book their trip, and to find the information they need to make the most of their stay.

The five tourist boards will lead on this within their subregions, where they have an important strategic role. The Destination Management Plans that they help to create must reflect the need to improve productivity and performance; they need to address both the barriers to, and the opportunities for, achieving improvement. Tourist boards will work to ensure that mainstream business support provision and dedicated sectoral programmes meet the needs of tourism businesses. Tourist boards will also encourage participation by businesses in programmes aimed at improving productivity and performance and at improving the skills of managers in achieving these.


4.2 Superior Skills The Agency will play a role in addressing the structural and policy barriers to improving productivity, working with other regional bodies. The Agency will also play a leading role in shaping the Regional Spatial Strategy and will take an active interest in Local Development Frameworks in order to strengthen the region’s ability to plan for tourism growth. The role that national quality assurance schemes can play in this should be exploited to the full. This will mean that only quality inspected properties will be marketed to visitors. It will also mean that tourist boards will be active in specifying and promoting core requirements for customer care, sustainability and access to businesses in their area. And it will mean that both regional and subregional agencies work to improve market intelligence and share this with businesses in a way that helps them to make good investment decisions that support the vision and aims of this strategy. A key focus will be on regional and sub-regional work to support beacon businesses, and to develop and support clusters of businesses that have potential for growth and improvement.

A well trained and skilled workforce is fundamental to the performance of tourism businesses and to the quality of service and experience provided to visitors. This is recognised in the National Skills Strategy, which provides a national framework for action. Our wider ambition is to generate more GVA for the region; to generate more wealth for us all. That means generating more profit and paying more in wages. There is a virtuous circle here; we want better, higher quality, more productive businesses, that generate more profit, require higher skilled staff and are able to offer better pay and conditions, and better careers. The real driver of skills improvement will be the growth of businesses offering higher quality products and services. Work in this area will be led by the Tourism Sector Skills and Productivity Alliance, and by tourist boards whose role it will be to lobby, influence and persuade others to ensure mainstream training provision delivers the skills the visitor economy needs. Partnerships will be developed with training providers, Learning and Skills Councils and others. The tourist boards will also provide a signposting role for tourism businesses in their area to the most appropriate sources of help and ensure the focus is on achieving the skills and motivation needed to deliver the right kind of visitor experience.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

4.3 Sense of Place A destination’s sense of place – the quality of its distinctiveness and its authenticity – is the key to making it stand out for visitors. The quality of the public realm, the natural environment and the built heritage are the foundations of this. Managing, enhancing and sustaining these to the highest standards will ensure that the region can offer high-quality and distinctive experiences to visitors. Destination Management Plans must capture and give life to this ambition. For visitors the sense of arrival determines their view of a place and the enjoyment of their stay. Orientation, signage and information all play their part as well as the physical quality of arrival points – rail and bus stations, arterial roads and car parks. We need to raise our standards of design in particular; our aim should be to make our region a beacon of high quality design. The role of local authorities is paramount in creating a strong sense of place; this is the objective through which they can make the greatest contribution to the visitor economy. To do this well, local authorities will need to understand what visitors expect and need on their visit; they should use the expertise that exists within our tourist

boards and elsewhere to help them do so. By working together we can design places that will work well for visitors, and for residents, and that will help deliver economic and social prosperity for the good of the whole community. There are a great many others who will play a role from national agencies like Natural England, English Heritage and the National Trust, through the range of cultural institutions, to local trusts and voluntary organisations. Regional and sub-regional partnerships will be built and developed by the NWDA and the tourist boards to ensure that a distinct and attractive sense of place is identified and nurtured in every part of the region. The implementation of the Marketing the Natural Environment Strategy produced early in 2006 will take forward the sustainable product development and marketing opportunities presented by the region’s outstanding natural heritage.


4.4 Signature Projects

4.5 Signature Events

Signature projects are major capital projects that will have a transformational impact on the visitor economy. Regional signature projects will have an international and a national significance. The requirements for signature projects will include:

Events provide added value to a visit, but they can also be the motivation for a visit.

• • •

Substantial capital spend (in excess of £50 million for regional signature projects and £15 million for subregional signature projects) Action to build and reinforce an attack brand The creation of a unique, highly attractive sense of place A transformational impact on the visitor economy around them

Current regional signature projects include: The Renaissance of the Lake District, including Lowther Chester Super Zoo Blackpool’s revival Hadrian’s Wall Mersey Waterfront The Regional Casino Sub-regional signature projects, which have national and regional significance, should be identified in the subregional Destination Management Plans. Again there are likely to be only a few of these.

Thousands of events take place in our region every year, with many reflecting a local sense of place and distinctiveness. It is however important to identify those events which merit the accolade of being signature events; they must be truly of the region, and have the power to attract visitors and attention from outside the region and from overseas. Two examples illustrate this: Cheshire’s Year of Gardens and the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. The Strategy for Major Events in England's Northwest published in March 2004 defined major events as those generating at least £1million for the regional economy and attracting significant national and international media attention. The approach set out in the events strategy is to develop and support a portfolio of regional major events under three headings: •

Global Giants - making the most of existing global events which take place in the Northwest e.g. Grand National, golf’s Open Championship Organic Excellence - nurturing and growing events which have been created in the region e.g. Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture 2008, Manchester International Festival Attack Zone - bidding for existing world class events e.g. Turner Prize, World Swimming Championships

We will build on the opportunities presented by London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The Games are an opportunity to showcase the region to the world. They also present a challenge to tourism businesses to aspire to truly worldclass standards.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

Attracting Visitors 4.6 Easy Access

4.7 The Attack Brand Approach

The transport infrastructure is a fundamental part of the visitor economy. Both leisure and business visitors require conveniently located and accessible airports and rail stations providing first class gateways to the region. They require excellent rail and coach connections, easily accessible car hire and road networks. And yet this provision is outside the control of tourism bodies.

Destination Marketing The Attack Brand approach is about leading in our promotion with what is strongest and has most appeal to visitors. Despite strides forward in the last three years, recent MORI research, commissioned by the NWDA into perceptions of the region, shows there is still a long way to go in ensuring that the Northwest is seen as offering the best tourism destinations in the UK.

The role of the NWDA and the tourist boards must therefore be one of building partnerships, collecting evidence and influencing and persuading at regional and sub-regional level, in order to ensure that visitor needs are taken account of in transport planning. A balance has to be struck between the demands for increased air travel and the need to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Manchester and Liverpool airports will continue to be actively promoted as international gateways and opportunities taken to develop new passenger services into Blackpool and Carlisle airports. However the majority of promotional effort will be within the UK market. This is consistent with the national strategy of promoting domestic tourism, benefiting both balance of payments and the carbon footprint. In the interests of environmental sustainability, opportunities will be taken in promotional activity and in developing specific routes, to encourage the use of public transport, while recognising that many parts of the region are readily accessible only by car. An important contribution which can be directly delivered by the tourist boards (working with transport providers) is ensuring that integrated, comprehensive route planning information is available online. Product development initiatives will be undertaken to encourage the use of public transport and to address traffic congestion and parking problems.

The region has four attack brands which are capable of attracting the attention and meeting the needs of significant numbers of the high spending visitors who are needed to grow the visitor economy; they are: • • • •

The Lake District Manchester Liverpool Chester

Blackpool is a mature brand in need of investment and repositioning; its redevelopment is a priority and will be crucial to attaining attack brand status. The attack brands will be the lead brands promoted by the NWDA and the tourist boards. The NWDA will ensure the alignment of tourism campaigns with the wider image marketing of the region. There are two or three sub-regional destinations which will have a strong appeal to specific market segments of real potential and could be viewed as ‘sub-regional attack brands’. The tourist boards will identify these destinations, based on their market potential. The tourist


boards will be responsible for developing approaches to dispersing visitors across the region through promotion and information. Thematic marketing Thematic marketing recognises that many people are motivated by a particular activity or interest. It is also a useful mechanism to tie together a range of destinations and present them to the market. A number of themes are identified at the regional level as having market potential: these are Cultural Activities, Natural Environment; Gardens and the Golf Coast. At the sub-regional level the tourist boards will identify those themes that have the best market opportunity. Tourist boards may work together on marketing common themes. There are also opportunities for tourist boards to link together places under a thematic approach. The Regional Marketing Framework produced in 2004 will be updated using the market research and segmentation work that has been undertaken regionally and subregionally since then. This will lead to the production of a brand matrix that clearly identifies the attack brands, subregional brands, and themes to be used in the region, and matches these to market segments. Business Tourism The Business Tourism Strategy has set out more detailed policies for business tourism. The focus is on adding maximum value to the regional economy through market

development programmes focusing on high yield markets, backed up by appropriate subventions where these will give a good return. This is complemented by a comprehensive programme to improve service standards. The designation of ‘Business Tourism Zones’ (specific areas within the region where business tourism is concentrated, where special transport and public realm improvements will help business tourism to grow successfully) and a programme to encourage the development of leading edge new facilities and services will enable businesses to take on the role of market leaders, stimulating competition and driving up quality. In order to deliver the action programme, the strategy proposes the creation of a Northwest Business Tourism Network; a strong consortium of conference bureaux. It is also proposed to create a new Conference Business Development Office to provide a regionally coordinated research function, and to act as the hub for joint activity. The nature of business tourism means that the potential for growth is strongest in the major cities and resorts, but there are niche opportunities for the rest of the region as well. Day Visits Day visits are an important element of the visitor economy. Day visitors also sustain the infrastructure of attractions, restaurants, and shops that are essential elements in attracting overnight visitors. Tourist boards will be responsible for leading actions to grow the day visitor economy in their area.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

4.8 The Power of Information Making it easy for people to convert a tentative interest into a visit is an important link in the chain. It is easy to spend money on marketing campaigns, brochures and websites. It is harder to make sure that the information people need is available at the right time in the right place for them to plan and book, and for them to use when they are at their destination. The Visitor Information Strategy will be implemented with the aim of providing world-class visitor information services that exceed the expectations of our visitors. The goal is to provide a competitive advantage to the region, and to make a measurable and valuable contribution to the visitor economy. A key element of the vision for 2010 is that there should be one or two strategic tourist information centres in each sub-region that become centres of excellence. They will provide a showcase for the lead attack brands and sub-regional attack brands, responding to marketing campaigns, and selling the whole region. They will also support a network of tourist information provided through locally franchised tourist information centres and points run by local authorities and others.

All this will be supported by an integrated destination information management system and e-business platform, enabling the electronic distribution of information and online booking; serving the needs of visitors, businesses and tourist boards alike. The ways in which people are acquiring information and using technology for planning is changing rapidly; we will respond quickly and appropriately to these changes.


5/ Putting the Strategy into Practice

The Delivery Structure A range of partners will deliver this strategy, each with their own role to play but working together to ensure the best use of resources, to avoid duplication and to share best practice. The main regional tourism agencies that will facilitate the coordination of this collective action are: •

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), which has the leading, strategic role for tourism in the region. It is responsible for setting direction, allocating resources, managing relationships with, and supporting, the tourist boards. Through its specialist teams it will lead developments in ICT, business support, skills and regional marketing. The Agency will also seek to influence regional and central government, and region-wide organisations.


The five tourist boards, which have a vital sub-regional strategic role in developing the visitor economy in their areas. They will lead the delivery of this strategy in the five sub-regions through the Destination Management Plans that bring together all those involved in tourism and the visitor economy, and through their strong and direct links with tourism businesses. They will be directly responsible for destination marketing, research, business engagement and project delivery.


A Regional Tourism Management Team, chaired by the NWDA and consisting of VisitBritain and the five tourist boards, will be responsible for driving and coordinating the operational delivery of the strategy to ensure the achievement of regional goals, and for developing and sharing good practice. This group will oversee the delivery of regional-level action proposed in the different specialist strategies supporting tourism growth.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

Integrating Economic and Tourism Planning •

A Forum that will oversee the development of this strategy and the broader regional visitor economy. This group will ensure synergy and consistency between regional and sub-regional strategies, and monitor performance.

Local authorities, which have a key role in the visitor economy and in the delivery of this strategy. Their place-shaping role is vital, and something only they can do, through their management of the public realm, licensing, traffic, attractions and events. Following publication of the Lyons Report into the future role and function of local government, and the recommendations of the Partners for England initiative, the NWDA will review the guidance on the tourism role of local authorities contained in ‘Great Destinations’. The goal is to ensure that the right mechanisms for collaboration are in place. The contribution and responsibilities of local authorities will also be articulated within sub-regional Destination Management Plans.

Delivery of the strategy will also involve continued partnership work with the two other northern regions through ‘England’s North Country’. Nationally, the region will build on the close relationship that exists with VisitBritain and will play a full role in the Partners for England initiative.

It is important that the various economic and tourism strategies and plans produced within the region are integrated and consistent. The Regional Economic Strategy provides a framework for both the Tourism Strategy for England’s Northwest and the actions plans produced by Sub-Regional Partnerships (SRPs). The Tourism Strategy and sub-regional action plans in turn provide a framework for Destination Management Plans. The Regional Spatial Strategy is of particular relevance and importance to tourism. The NWDA will work closely with the Regional Assembly and others to improve the region’s ability to plan for tourism growth and for the achievement of the tourism vision. Integration is also important at a local level, with Sustainable Community Strategies and Local Development Frameworks being of particular relevance; there is a need for a high degree of coordination between these and the Destination Management Plans for the sub-regions, which encapsulate the priorities for tourism.


Market and Economic Impact Knowledge

Performance Evaluation

Having accurate data and meaningful market intelligence are vital for the evaluation of performance and for planning and investment decisions. The Regional Tourism Research Strategy identifies the following as priorities:

This strategy provides a guide to the development of the visitor economy, defining the direction of travel and the key objectives for the region. The size and diversity of the region make the setting of specific measures problematic. Each of the sub-regions is different, with challenges and opportunities that are specific; it is as the sub-regional level that actions must be defined, and specific performance measures put in place. The tourist boards will lead this process, which will be reflected in the Destination Management Plans they publish.

Volume & Value • STEAM measures visits, spend and jobs within the sub-regions but work remains for tourist boards to get the levels of business participation required to input robust data; • Tourism Satellite Accounts are at an early stage of development nationally and offer the opportunity for more meaningful data and measurement; NWDA will take a leading role in the development of accounts both regionally and nationally; • Economic impact studies to identify varying visitor value across the region; • Tourism Demand Modelling involving scenario planning and futures analysis. Industry Performance • Accommodation occupancy surveys; • Visitor attractions surveys; • Business performance surveys where the priority again is on tourist boards securing participation to obtain robust data. Market Understanding and Analysis • Visitor and spending surveys at regional and subregional level, including the MORI perceptions survey; • Market segmentation work using Arkenford; • Day visitor research. The delivery and dissemination of this programme of research will give a sound basis on which to make the right investment and planning decisions, and monitor performance.

Nevertheless it is important that there are regional targets; these will enable the progress of the strategy to be monitored and provide a tangible measure of success. The high level regional measures will be: •

• • •

Improvements in perception of the region and interest in visiting the region’s destinations, as monitored through the MORI perceptions research undertaken biannually; Improvements in visitor satisfaction as measured by destination level surveys; Increases in overnight visitor spend above the UK average; Above average increases in the percentage of accommodation that is quality-rated by recognised schemes.

We will also institute and publish an annual benchmarking survey that compares the region and its destinations to other UK and European competitors. The Forum will be responsible for setting milestones and for the implementation of a systematic approach to the measurement and evaluation of performance at regional and sub-regional levels.


The Strategy for Tourism in England’s Northwest: Developing the Visitor Economy

6/ Next Steps

This strategy sets out a clear path that is designed to help the region achieve its vision of offering visitors real excellence and superb experiences and having a visitor economy that is second to none. It is supported by a series of more detailed and specific frameworks that define the actions that are needed to achieve our vision. These include tourist board strategies, the Tourism Marketing Framework, and strategies for Business Tourism, Visitor Information, Research, Major Events, Marketing the Natural Environment, Cluster Development and Sustainable Tourism; all of these are available from the NWDA website. Much of this strategy’s focus is rightly on the public agencies that have responsibility for leading economic development. The success of this strategy will depend on these agencies acting in a coordinated and focussed manner to apply the principles, and achieve the objectives, that are set out here. Ultimately though, success depends on the thousands of tourism sector businesses in the region; it is they that provide the jobs, generate the revenues and produce the profits that drive economic growth. They will only achieve this growth by understanding their customers and providing them with the high quality experiences that will make them all ambassadors for our region. It is to the success of each and every one of the region’s tourism businesses that this strategy is dedicated.


This document can be made available in large print, braille, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Somali, Urdu and Hindi. Please contact the Marketing Department on 01925 400 100.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency PO Box 37 Renaissance House Centre Park Warrington WA1 1XB Tel: +44 (0)1925 400 100 Fax: +44 (0)1925 400 400

Printed on Zanders Mega Matt

March 2007 NWDA H2031

PP Research NWDA Tourism Strategy  

This NWDA strategy updates the original Tourism Strategy for England’s Northwest that was published in June 2003. It is the result of a mid-...

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