With the South West tourism and leisure industry reeling from the effects of Covid-19, the boards of Visit Bristol and Visit Bath are proposing a new Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to support businesses in the sector.
Tourism and leisure in the Bath and Bristol area employs 45,000 people (8 per cent of the workforce) and contributes almost £2.5 billion to the economy.
The proposed new DMO will provide a full range of services to businesses whilst actively maintaining the distinctive local consumer brands Visit Bath and Visit Bristol. Support will include both travel trade and consumer marketing, a convention bureau and business development.
The new organisation will be a significant industry presence, creating new routes to market and putting the sub-region in a much stronger position to access new additional funding.
Bringing together the two existing DMOs will also provide better value for money and greater efficiency of operation.
Kathryn Davis, Interim Chief Executive of Visit Bath and Head of Tourism at Destination Bristol, said, “Destination Bristol and Visit Bath enjoy an existing and longstanding collaboration, so now is the time to consolidate and cement that relationship to give the region one strong voice. A united DMO will have the skilled staff and resources to provide excellent professional services to all its members across the West of England.”
John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol, added, “The hospitality and tourism sector was the first to be hit by lockdown and will be the last to recover. We need to do everything we can to support businesses by making sure that we have a stronger presence. Creating a new company to promote this area will be more resilient and gives us a strong voice with organisations such as VisitBritain and VisitEngland.”
Visit Bath and Visit Bristol recognise the crucial importance of working closely with local government to maximise the visitor economy and will work closely with Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils.
Welcoming the proposition Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, said that the timing was perfect and a good example of partnership working which would enable funding to support the sector to be channelled more effectively.