UK Tourism Minister visits Bath to see tourism best practice in action
Tuesday 3, August 2010
The Tourism Minister, John Penrose MP, will be visiting Bath on Thursday 29 July to meet Bath Tourism Plus, B&NES Council representatives and members of the tourism industry, following a suggestion from Visit England to see an example of best practice.
Mr Penrose will visit hot on the heels of Lady Penelope Cobham, chair of Visit England, and James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England, who came to Bath in June 2010. They were impressed with the success of the city’s tourism industry and effectiveness of Bath Tourism Plus (BTP) as a destination management organisation (DMO), and suggested Mr Penrose visit Bath as a guide to how other tourism destinations could operate.
Mr Penrose said: "There are a number of places in the UK where we are doing things well and Bath, by any estimate, is one of the best in the country".
BTP was established in 2003 as a private and public sector DMO by B&NES Council and the Bath Chamber of Commerce. A recent review identified that only 20% of the company’s funding comes from the public sector. BTP has been recognised for delivering innovative marketing and for managing a successful commercial operation which includes the busiest Tourist Information Centre in the country with 535,000 visitors a year.
BTP recently received some impressive statistics from their website provider, New Mind, following the fifth anniversary of the current www.visitbath.co.uk website. In five years the website has generated £5.8m of income for the accommodation sector and has received 4 million unique visitors. Along with its website and other marketing activity, BTP focuses on PR activity to gain around £1.7m worth of coverage per year for the city and surrounding area and operates a membership scheme, which currently includes 450 commercial members.
With support from B&NES Council, BTP will also be leading the way in tourism research by being the first DMO in the UK to use T-STATS – an original online research and statistics system. T-STATS will provide vital data such as occupancy and rates for the accommodation sector, numbers of visitors and associated spend at attractions, retail footfall and sales data, car parking data and the impact of events and weather on tourism in and around the city.
BTP will have the opportunity to demonstrate their achievements to Mr Penrose while also discussing the issues currently facing the tourism industry. BTP directors and B&NES Council members and officers will be joined by key tourism industry contacts, including accommodation providers and attractions, to learn about the government plans for the tourism sector and discuss local tourism issues and opportunities. Mr Penrose will then have the opportunity to visit one of the UK’s top attractions - the Roman Baths - followed by the Thermae Bath Spa and the new SouthGate shopping area.
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