In spite of the national credit crunch, Staffordshire is proving to be a vibrant and growing tourism destination, with 52% of Staffordshire tourism providers anticipating an increase in business over the next six months, according to a report commissioned by Destination Staffordshire.
The report, conducted by the Centre for Economic and Social Regeneration at Staffordshire University, found that an impressive 43% of Staffordshire businesses recorded growth over the period from October 2007 to April 2008. 28% of businesses reported staff increases, with only 7% reporting reductions.
Some of the factors cited by those reporting an increase in activity include the development of programmes of events, such as festivals, open days and members’ clubs, enhanced partnership working and the development of new and improved facilities. 56% of businesses reported increased investment in facilities, involving a total of around £28 million, an increase of over £14 million on the previous period.
A potential trend identified by a number of businesses is the increasing amount of people choosing to holiday in the UK. This is in response to increasing fuel prices, living costs and deterioration of the pound against the Euro. Accommodation providers and attractions in Staffordshire are preparing for an increase in short trips and local short break holidays.
Chair of Destination Staffordshire, Mark Kerrigan said: “The optimism within local businesses is founded on the strength of the Staffordshire offer. This feeling is supported by a high level of advance bookings, growing reputations around unique product elements, enhanced and focused marketing, attendance at events and exhibitions, continued investments in websites and new product development.”
Businesses acknowledge some of the newly emerging challenges as; issues in the wider economy, a decline in foreign visitors, the smoking ban and keeping up with new technologies. By continually working together to develop strategies to meet these challenges, Destination Staffordshire has shown a united approach can prove beneficial to all.
Colin Bryan, Managing Director of Drayton Manor Theme Park added: “We are having a good year, with over 100,000 new visitors so far this season. Our latest attraction, Thomas Land, is a huge success enabling us to attract many new visitors, not only from the region but further afield. We also anticipate our new garden centre, The Plant Plot, will add to the visitor experience and increase spend. I’m sure that the current economic climate is encouraging the general public to be more selective in choosing leisure activities and we are conscious of having to provide a high value offer.”
“We will continue to work positively together and offer incentives to those who are tightening their belts. This summer our members have joined forces to offer a Thrill Hopper ticket, an affordable way for visitors to enjoy four of the top adventure attractions; Alton Towers, Drayton Manor Park, Water World and Tamworth Ski Dome.”
Destination Staffordshire firmly believes that its comprehensive marketing programme is raising the county’s profile and helping support economic growth.
The Destination Staffordshire compendium of promotional literature includes 80,000 Short Break Guides, a 48-page Visitor Guide, 125,000 Visitor Maps, a Welcome Booklet, with discount vouchers, 250,000 promotional flyers and a Travel Trade Guide.
The literature and advertising has been distributed through the national media campaign, Tourist Information Centres, brochure racking venues, travel trade press and at the British Travel Trade Fair.
Visitors to the area can discover more about attractions and offers at www.enjoystaffordshire.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
Staffordshire Destination Management Partnership is a public and private sector organisation launched in 2006 to develop, manage and promote Staffordshire’s visitor economy.
The report is focussed on the activities and experiences of up to one hundred businesses from across the area’s visitor economy.
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