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POSITVE FUTURE & NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH FOCUS OF PEAK DISTRICT & DERBYSHIRE TOURISM CONFERENCE

todayOctober 13, 2022 6

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“Despite unprecedented challenges, the future of tourism in the Peak District and Derbyshire remains positive” – that’s the overriding message from the annual Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Conference which took place on Thursday 6th October at Peak Edge Hotel in Chesterfield.

Hosted by Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, the event welcomed over 120 attendees from across the tourism and hospitality sectors for the first ‘in person’ conference since the pandemic.

It brought together leading industry figures and expert speakers to deliver insights, advice and inspiration covering major topics including the cost-of-living crisis, recruitment challenges, emerging tourism trends and new opportunities for growth.

The keynote speech was delivered by Patricia Yates, CEO of national tourist body VisitBritain/VisitEngland, who visited local businesses including The Heights of Abraham, Chatsworth and Treak Cliff Cavern ahead of the conference to shine a spotlight on the area’s outstanding tourism offer and discuss how the sector can work together to drive economic growth.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland CEO Patricia Yates said:

“It’s been fantastic to be in beautiful Derbyshire and the Peak District, visiting tourism businesses and attractions and seeing first-hand the wonderful experiences on offer. It has been invaluable to listen and talk to local businesses about how we can work together to drive economic growth, and to have the opportunity to highlight our work to support the industry’s recovery.

“Tourism is an industry that can deliver growth like no other and it’s been great to see the activity Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire is delivering, working with businesses and key stakeholders to attract domestic and overseas visits, driving the visitor economy.”

Opening the conference, Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, emphasised the organisation’s ongoing commitment to supporting the sector’s recovery and its work to secure the long-term future of the industry by increasing overnight stays, extending the traditional tourism season and boosting visitor spend.

In line with the its ambition to position the area as world-class visitor destination, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire announced it will be launching a new marketing campaign later this year – promoting the area’s ‘distinctive and diverse visitor offer’ – together with an innovative new website for www.visitpeakdistrict.comthat will help visitors plan and book trips according to accessibility and sustainability requirements.

Updates from Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire also focused on recent successes, including:

  • The value of tourism to the area’s economy – £1.96 billion in 2021, achieving 79% of 2019 levels against a target of 70% (2021 STEAM data)
  • The creation of a Sustainable Tourism Plan, produced in partnership with the Peak District National Park Authority and The National Forest, which aims to position the destination as a beacon for sustainable tourism and active travel
  • The success of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire’s Accessibility Champions programme, which has so far helped over 30 tourism businesses achieve ‘Accessibility Champion’ status
  • The achievements of the European Regional Development Fund supported Growing and Developing the Visitor Economy within Derbyshire project, which has helped over 800 visitor economy business to boost their growth, skills and profitability since 2017
  • Ever-increasing visits to visitpeakdistrict.com(2.7 million sessions and 2.1 million users between September 2021 and September 2022) and a combined social media following of more than 200,000

Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, the event covered the challenges facing the area’s visitor economy as well as the support available for local businesses. Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), revealed that ‘inflation’ and ‘access to skilled labour’ are currently the biggest concerns for businesses in the region.

Looking to the future, Cllr Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, discussed the East Midlands devolution deal which will see Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham come together to pioneer a new East Midlands Mayoral Combined County Authority. The deal will see £1.14 billion come to the region over 30 years – creating ‘more and better jobs through greater investment in the area, with increased economic growth, better transport, housing, skills training and an enhanced greener environment’.

Delegates also heard from Jenny Lowthrop about the vital work of the Peak District National Park Foundation in protecting and safeguarding Britain’s original National Park, which attracts thousands of visits to the area each year; whilst Miles Watkins of the Institute of Quarrying shared their exciting vision to create an internationally significant visitor experience and Centre of Excellence for the quarrying industry at the National Stone Centre in Wirksworth.

Emerging trends – and how tourism businesses can harness them – were a key focus of the conference and Paul Ince of LikeMind Media Ltd gave delegates a valuable insight into how best to use short videos on social media platforms such as TikTok to help their businesses stand out from the crowd.

The Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Conference was funded by Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire’s European Regional Development Fund project.

ENDS

High resolution image attached: Patricia Yates (front centre), CEO of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, and Jo Dilley (front right), Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, with speakers at the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Conference, l to r: Jenny Lowthrop, Chair of the Peak District National Park Foundation; Paul Ince, LikeMind Media Ltd; Rachel Briody, Marketing Campaigns Manager at Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire; Scott Knowles, CEO of East Midlands Chamber; and Cllr Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council.

For press enquiries, contact Amy Noton at 07387 141590 or amy.noton@marketingpdd.com.

Notes

Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire
Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire is the area’s official destination management organisation. Its mission is to develop and grow a successful and sustainable visitor economy, working closely with a wide range of partners to make the Peak District and Derbyshire the destination of choice – regionally, nationally and globally.
For the latest industry information see www.visitpeakdistrict.com/industry
The latest visitor information and inspiration can be found at www.vistpeakdistrict.com

About the European Regional Development Fund
The approved business support programme is receiving over £1.2 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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