Press release

Deputy PM calls for strategy to boost tourism in the South West

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Nick Clegg is announcing an investment of £5 million to create a strategy that will boost tourism in the South West.

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The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in Cornwall today (Thursday 5 March) to announce an investment of £5 million to boost tourism in the South West by creating a joined-up strategy for marketing the region as a top holiday destination for international travellers.

VisitEngland will administer the Fund on behalf of government, which will then be distributed to appropriate local organisations. The money will back proposals for a clear strategy for tourism in the South West based upon the unique strengths that the region has to offer, whether it is capitalising in German interest in Cornwall following the TV adaptations of the Rosamunde Pilcher novels or whether we look to celebrate the culinary delights of the region ranging from Somerset cheese to Devon cream tea and Cornish ice cream. It will be for the experts in the region to come forward with proposals, though it is hoped that the programme of work could create over 1000 new jobs across the region.

In the first 9 months of last year, the South West saw over 1,584,000 international visitors, whereas over 13 million people flocked to London in the same time period. There are currently 9 guidebooks by 1 famous brand for different parts of Italy. There are just 2 by the same famous brand for Britain – London and Scotland.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

The South West of England boasts some of this country’s areas of outstanding natural beauty. It’s vital we spread the word about the treasure trove of cultural and historical attractions waiting to be explored from Bath to Land’s End. We want people to travel back in time at the Roman Baths, walk along Dorset and Devon’s Jurassic coastline, marvel at the famous artwork at Tate St Ives and more.

This funding will create a plan which will see the South West welcome thousands more visitors from home and abroad, strengthening the local economy and boosting business.

The strategy has a number of aims. The funding will support work to increase awareness of the South West of England as a tourist destination in Europe and beyond.

Money will be allocated for marketing activity, building travel itineraries offered by travel operators serving the area and promoting transport links between Bristol, Exeter and Newquay. including increased awareness of the luxury sleeper service which First Great Western provides.

There will also be a focus on business development in the South West. With smaller businesses getting help to make their products and services relevant to international audiences, whilst enhancing their resources for digital marketing.

Marketing will be global but targeted at visitors from Germany, Switzerland and Austria in particular. Work to capitalise on the interest driven from the German soap opera based on Rosamunde Pilcher’s novels, which is filmed in Cornwall, will also be explored.

There is a cornucopia of attractions across the south-west, from the impressive gardens of The Eden Project to the dramatic Jurassic Coast and Royal Crescent in Bath. The region has many links to the arts and literature. The drama Doc Martin has been shown in 14 countries, the new adaptation of ‘Poldark’ is to be based there and the author Agatha Christie is linked to Torbay.

Notes to editors

In 2013, the South West welcomed the following:

  • 154 million tourism day visitors, spending over £5.1 billion
  • almost 19 million domestic overnight visitors, who spent £4.3 billion
  • over 2 million overseas visitors, who together spent almost £1 billion
Published 5 March 2015