Tourism businesses in Devon are to be offered additional support following the extreme weather, after weeks of Government lobbying.
The Government announced on Saturday a new £2 million cross country support fund for tourism to help for tourism businesses impacted by the extreme weather, after an emergency meeting held by Minister for Tourism Helen Grant in Whitehall with tourism chiefs from Devon, Cornwall and other badly affected areas.
The key purpose of this fund is to provide on the ground practical advice and support for affected tourism businesses and to provide funding for an additional national marketing campaign to ‘kick start’ Easter and summer bookings.
Locally this fund is to be managed by Visit Devon as the official Destination Management Organisation, working in partnership with Visit England with Carolyn Custerson as chair, invited by Visit England to coordinate activity on behalf of Devon.
The Visit Devon programme of support is currently under design and will be announced over the next few days to include key seminars in Torquay, Plymouth, Barnstaple and Exeter focusing on Business Planning and Marketing supported by a programme of ‘one to one’ business support sessions tailored to specific needs.
In addition Visit Devon has been working with the Heart of The South West LEP, Plymouth Growth Board and Visit Cornwall to ensure there is a consistent messaging of the need to have a ‘fast, resilient rail service’ to underpin the Devon tourism offer and has secured national media coverage to communicate this message.
To support tourism businesses Visit England has also launched an online toolkit at http://www.visitengland.org/flood-response/index.aspx offering advice to help businesses affected.
A promotional push abroad to reassure overseas tourists that Britain is open for business is also being planned by Visit Britain in the coming weeks.
Chair of Visit Devon, Carolyn Custerson said: “In view of the very worrying impact that the extreme weather has had on forward bookings I warmly welcome this support from Government for the tourism industry in this time of recovery. Consumer perceptions heightened by the media are very powerful. We now all need to work hard to reassure visitors and our friends and relatives that Devon is very much open for business and remains a beautiful destination to visit this spring and summer and I am confident that the programme of support now planned by Visit England will be very helpful. It’s also important that we align with our South West peninsular colleagues and partners to ensure we all work together to reduce any negative impact on tourism and the economy.’’ If any business would like to express an interest now in arranging a one to one free of charge Business Advice sessions or attend any of the Weather Recovery Tourism Events/Seminars please email: firstname.lastname@example.org