Adam Jones is Marketing Manager for Aerospace Bristol, a new £19m industrial heritage museum that boasts the last Concorde ever to fly as its stunning centrepiece (Pictured right on its arrival at Aerospace Bristol). Adam has just taken up the role as CIM South West tourism ambassador where he is keen to share information, advice and build networks to support tourism marketers and promote the role of marketing in the sector. Here, Adam puts the spotlight on this year’s high season and the challenges the region’s tourism marketers face.
Thanks to the weak pound, it is currently more expensive for Brits to travel overseas and cheaper for international tourists to visit the UK. In theory at , this should have a positive impact on our tourism sector, driving an increase in staycations and encouraging overseas visits.
Indeed, South West tourist destinations are largely reporting a strong first half of 2017 and looking ahead to a promising summer. But are we, as a region, really making the most of the current opportunity? How many overseas visitors looking for a bargain UK break are visiting the South West and how many are heading exclusively to London?
It’s not a new challenge - while domestic travellers may be aware of what the South West has to offer, international visitors to the UK tend to focus on the capital, with more than half of overseas tourists including a visit to London as part of their trip. So, how do we make the most of our current status as a good value destination and draw more visitors out of London towards the South West?
I believe the solution is clear - marketers in the South West tourism sector must come together to work more closely than they ever have before and communicate what the region as a whole has to offer. While even the biggest individual attractions may struggle to tempt tourists out of London in large numbers on their own, we can work in partnership to create a much stronger combined proposition and more effectively promote our region to overseas and domestic travellers alike.
There are some fantastic projects already working towards this goal. From the Bristol and Bath Cultural Destinations Project, which aims to position Bristol and Bath as complimentary destinations and improve collaboration between the two cities’ tourism sectors, to The Great West Way Project, which will create 'one of the world’s premier long-distance touring routes between London and Bristol', luring visitors along a 125 mile corridor towards the South West like a mini Route 66.
We need more collaborative projects like these and we need individual organisations to work together too. Marketers within our DMOs, large and small visitor attractions, hotels, coach companies, train operators and other tourism organisations must think about how they can combine their efforts to offer and promote an itinerary that makes the journey to the South West an attractive proposition.
As CIM Tourism Ambassador for the South West region, I hope to play a part in this process and do my bit to bring tourism marketers even closer together - enabling the sharing of knowledge and ideas and encouraging collaboration on projects that will better communicate the fantastic visitor experiences our entire region has to offer.