30 Jan New strategy sets out vision to boost visitor economy, support local businesses and enhance tourism in Northamptonshire
A new tourism strategy for Northamptonshire has been given the go ahead by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) at their Cabinet and Executive meetings this month (16 and 18 January).
The Northamptonshire Tourism Strategy sets out a vision and approach to nurturing and enhancing the county’s visitor economy and aims to improve pride in place, generate inward investment and create new employment opportunities as well as reduce carbon emissions in line with both councils’ sustainability goals.
The strategy, which has been developed over an 18-month period and co-produced by WNC and NNC alongside partners and stakeholders from across the public, private and voluntary and community sectors, will be implemented between now and 2030 focussing on 4 key themes: Visits and Value, Great People, Better Business and Inspirational Places.
Plans also include the exploration of a new private sector-led Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) which will work with national tourism agency Visit England to oversee and drive the delivery of the strategy while playing a crucial role in promoting and marketing specific destinations to attract tourists. The LVEP will also be responsible for identifying and bidding for Government funding streams.
Similarly to Visit England, which focuses on showcasing the diverse attractions, cultural heritage, and experiences offered by different regions across England, a LVEP would work on developing and implementing strategic marketing initiatives to boost tourism, support local businesses, and enhance the overall appeal of Northamptonshire to visitors both domestically and internationally.
The development setting out what the LVEP could look like in Northamptonshire is a priority following the adoption of the Northamptonshire Tourism Strategy and will be explored in partnership with the private sector.
Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The visitor economy in Northamptonshire is diverse, robust and has extreme potential for largescale growth. By developing a Local Visitor Economy Partnership between the private and public sector, we can source support from Visit England to expand Northamptonshire’s tourism offer even further and realise growth for the entire county.
“Our strategic location in the country, boasting proud culture and heritage, along with world-class attractions and events, makes Northamptonshire the perfect destination for visitors and engagement. National statistics show over 18 million visits to the county spending close to £1 billion a year which supports over 30,000 jobs across the county and 3,000 businesses, including a wide range of attractions, hotels, pubs and other venues that visitors enjoy.”
“We will work collaboratively and creatively to ensure every resident and visitor in Northamptonshire utilises the tourism offer of the county, and we will work with attractions and employers to overcome barriers and realise opportunities for growth.”
Both councils will continue to deliver specific tourism activities at a local level but will work with wider partners for larger initiatives when appropriate and necessary.
Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader of North Northamptonshire Council and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “We are extremely proud of the county we call home – it really is a hidden gem, which in the past may have been overlooked when people are looking for places to visit and stay.
“But that shouldn’t be the case at all, and this new strategy sets out how we can attract and improve visitor numbers, encourage people to return and boost the tourism economy. It also looks at how we can maximise future potential, where both councils can continue to work together and in close partnership with the tourism industry, education and other stakeholders to promote Northamptonshire.
“Our diverse offer gives visitors a huge variety of experiences and activities to enjoy, alongside beautiful towns and villages packed full of unique shops, cafes and restaurants to explore. We are also extremely fortunate to have some stunning countryside on our doorsteps, with routes and trails to help you get back to nature. We also want to encourage visitors to stay in our county and to do that we need to enhance our accommodation offering from camping, glamping, and budget to high end accommodation. We really need to shout about Northamptonshire and what it has to offer.
“A huge thank you goes out to everyone who has engaged in the process so far, this is the first stage of many and stakeholder involvement plays a vital part of this plan.
“Now that the strategy has been approved by both councils, we can continue to grow and develop the relationships between us, WNC and partners to put the strategy into action, alongside developing the LVEP, which will all in turn help us showcase this fantastic county.”