We’ll promote Our County to the World
Ruth Connor, Chief Executive gives her view on the year and opportunities ahead.
RUTH CONNOR – Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire.
The role of the Visitor Economy sector is significant, attracting 62 million visitors to the county, making a £3.4billion contribution to the Lancashire economy and supporting 55,000 FTE jobs (Source: STEAM 2012). Lancashire attracts more visitors than Liverpool, Cumbria and Cheshire and is the second largest visitor economy in the North West. Our aim at Marketing Lancashire the county’s destination management organisation, is to raise the profile of the county both in the North West, at a national level and internationally as well.
The challenges ahead include continuing to build consumer confidence, as there is still a cautionary approach to spending; Visit England research over the summer of 2013 revealed that 9 in 10 consumers are still looking to reduce their costs and the trend was to take fewer breaks and to spend less. Fortunately, the breadth of choice in accommodation, attractions and free events in Lancashire is helping the destination remain a realistic, quality option in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Summer 2013 was particularly positive with some growth in volume and value, boosted by the good weather and those businesses that continued to invest in marketing, events and product development benefited most and in general, businesses were feeling more optimistic towards the end of 2013.
On the whole that confidence is still growing, especially amongst those who have embraced online and mobile technology, social media and PR which are key to reaching new and repeat customers and to driving business growth.
As we move into the new year, we will be supporting and promoting the strong progress of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, the “economic voice” of Lancashire led by Edwin Booth which is recognised as one of the leading LEPs in the country. Lancashire’s LEP has delivered several initiatives to drive growth and economic impact for the county including the recent City Deal for Preston and South Ribble, the development of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone, the launch of the Lancashire Business Growth Hub, the introduction of both Superfast Lancashire and Transport for Lancashire .
Marketing Lancashire’s role will be to strengthen Lancashire’s strategic case to promote the destination as a compelling proposition for new investors, businesses and visitors. We will champion the LEP’s focus on strategic marketing and inward investment to better promote our sector strengths and world-class reputation.
With regards the Visitor Economy, the outlook is that across the UK, the tourism economy is forecast to grow 3.8% per annum –faster than manufacturing, construction and retail. By 2025 it is forecast that it will generate 10% GDP £257bn (VisitBritain Tourism: Jobs and Growth – The Economic Contribution of the Tourism Economy in the UK – November 2013).
Our aim in 2014 is to project a strong, confident and ambitious voice for Lancashire, encouraging growth and positive economic impact for the area by an increased engagement level with both the public and private sectors.
As featured in the LEP Business Supplement (Jan 2014).