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Success for South West Tourism

October 6, 2018 Visit Europe No Comments Email Email

A new, ground-breaking, tourism partnership, set up by tourism chiefs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Somerset and Dorset – the South West Peninsula Overseas Partnership – to develop a long-term approach to attracting overseas visitors, (promoting the peninsula’s unique landscape, buildings, culture and attractions) has received its first funding, in a grant from the £40 million Discover England Fund for tourism product development.

Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive Visit Cornwall CIC; Sally Everton, Director for Visit Devon CIC and John Turner, Chief Executive Visit Somerset CIC at Wells Cathedral, Somerset.

Specifically targeting millennials, families and friendship groups in the USA and Australia, as well as continuing in existing markets, the partnership plans to offer flexible itineraries which will enable individuals to “pick and mix” from a wide range of unusual and exciting attractions and experiences.

“This is a whole new collaborative approach to get our tourism products to overseas visitors.  Joining together gives us the opportunity to punch above our individual weights, re-write the rule book and embark on a new exciting and ground-breaking journey” said Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall CIC.  “Although we are traditionally referred to as one region, there has been very little collaboration over the past few years.  We recognised that if we wanted to encourage more visitors to venture further west than Bath and Bristol and explore the world class attractions and experiences on offer in our peninsula, we needed to join together”.

“The idea is to give people the opportunity to do and see the things they want while on the same tour as their family & friends” said John Turner, Chief Executive of Visit Somerset CIC.

“Research shows that more and more people are looking for unique and memorable experiences, which, of course, the South West Peninsula has an abundance of.  We can offer a choice of  ‘must do’  itineraries that will suit individual choice and can entice visitors to come 365 days a year” said Sally Everton, Director for Visit Devon CIC.  “We want to offer visitors the opportunity to ‘live like a local’ and experiment with unusual and exciting experiences rather than always following traditional tourist routes”.

The unique collaboration has already seen the partners staging joint stands at key overseas  trade events such as Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht and ITB in Berlin. Over the next five years, this will see them attend other key trade events in the US, Australia as well as Explore GB and World Travel Market, which are held in the UK over the next five years.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “The calibre of submissions reflect the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England. The South West Peninsula Overseas Partnership will get more family and friendship groups from Australia and the USA exploring the South West with targeted experiences.”

The funding will be used to develop new touring and thematic routes which provide access to the peninsula’s four World Heritage Sites, two National Parks, numerous AONB’s, historic properties, glorious gardens and stunning 650 mile coastline, at the same time as offering the opportunity to pick and mix from experiences and activities ranging from literature, arts and culture, TV and film locations, and history and heritage, to local food and drink, as well as physical activities such as kayaking and surfing – all accessed via a new website.

England’s South West Peninsular is one of a number of projects to benefit from the Discover

England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time. The Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.”

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