Website generated visits to the Peak District brought £15.7 million into the area’s economy and created or safeguarded 107 tourism-linked jobs over a period of just six months, according to new national research.
More than a third of the spending – around £5.7 million – and all the jobs can be directly traced to tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s marketing during the first phase of the VisitEngland-led campaign ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, financed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, from September 2012 to March 2013.
Visit Peak District & Derbyshire is one of a number of English destinations sharing in a £19.8 million pot of Government money secured by the national tourist board VisitEngland to boost tourism spend and create thousands of jobs between 2012 and 2015.
During the first phase of ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire ran a high-profile billboard campaign, goPEAKS.com, in Birmingham and Manchester, to inspire residents to go online and book short breaks and holidays.
Research carried out on behalf of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire revealed that 69 per cent of people who had visited goPEAKS.com between September 2012 and March 2013 had been persuaded to take a short break, holiday or other overnight trip in the Peak District.
Forty-six per cent said it encouraged them to visit more places than they originally planned to go to, and 44 per cent said it had persuaded them to visit the Peak District rather than another destination in the UK.
During that period, 91 per cent of website generated visits were taken as holidays, with an average stay of four nights taken by two people. More than half – 57 per cent – spent between £101 and £500 – with most of those (17 per cent) spending between £201 and £300.
The growing impact of social media is also reflected in the research, which found that half of all website generated visitors shared information about their visit online – with more than a quarter uploading photos of their visit on a social network or photo sharing website.
Around a fifth (19 per cent) chatted to others on social networks, 14 per cent posted a review on a website, and 13 per cent forwarded or shared a link about an aspect of their visit.
“This is very encouraging news, given that we are gearing up to launch the second year of our ‘Growing Tourism Locally marketing activity in January 2014,” said David James, Chief Executive at the tourist board.
“It’s clear that online marketing activity is becoming increasingly important in encouraging visitors to come to the Peak District– and it’s particularly satisfying to see that those who are coming here as a result are staying an average of four nights, with most spending several hundred pounds.
“That can only be good news for the area’s economy, helping to create and safeguard more than 100 tourism-linked jobs in the process – and we look forward to consolidating and building on the progress we have made throughout 2014 and beyond.
“We’ll be revealing full details of the next phase of our RGF-linked marketing projects, including a high-profile television advertising campaign – the first that’s ever featured the Peak District – early in the New Year.”
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Cief Executive, added: “The RGF funding has provided a huge boost for tourism in England. This project enables our public and private sector partners to work together to stimulate tourism and ultimately create new jobs throughout the country, with particular emphasis on some local areas.
“The first year has proved incredibly successful, with destinations throughout the country benefiting significantly from this investment, boosting local economies and creating important jobs.”
Note to News Editors
A digital image of David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, is attached for print media.
Commercial supporters during the first year of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s RGF-backed marketing activity are: Active Peak Breaks (provided by Large Outdoors), Alton Towers, Chatsworth, Buxton Water, East Midlands Designer Outlet, GO Outdoors, Northern Rail and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Visit Peak District & Derbyshire – the area’s official tourist board – works with VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Derbyshire County Council, all local authorities in the Peak District and Derbyshire, tourism business partners and surrounding tourism organisations that share the Peak District. It is committed to the successful and sustainable development of tourism.
VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors
Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics
‘Growing Tourism Locally’ – a Regional Growth Fund Tourism Investment Project
In October 2011, VisitEngland’s application to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund was approved by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). £19.8 million was awarded to deliver a three year partner marketing project entitled ‘Growing Tourism Locally’.
This project aims to stimulate the domestic visitor market to grow local economies through increased tourism activity by UK residents. The project enables VisitEngland to work in partnership to facilitate growth at a local level, further amplifying the Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign that was launched in March this year.
The project ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ has the potential to create the equivalent of 9,100 full time jobs across England and is focussed on areas suffering economic challenges with tourism growth potential.
The RGF funding is matched with private sector funding at national and local levels to create a project of £41 million over 3 years.
About the Regional Growth Fund
The Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. So far £2.6 billion has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to delivering sustainable jobs and economic growth. For more information, visit www.bis.gov.uk/rgf.