Promoting Devon

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Devon combines beach, heritage and scenic holidays. How can itattract more of us to visit it?

Devon combines beach, heritage and scenic holidays. How can itattract more of us to visit it?

Tourism promotion has layers of groups within the UK. At the top stands Visit Britain which promotes all of our countries abroad. Below it are Visit England, Scotland and a similar Welsh body. In Northern Ireland, their promotion board is part of Tourism Ireland which promotes both the south and the north.

As an example but which is similar in each of our countries, under Visit England are smaller entities that consist of geographic areas, counties, smaller areas and then cities and towns. Then there are attractions, hotels, B&B’s, guest houses, coach and bus companies and all sorts of interested bodies. It can become confusing both for the visitor and the owner of a tourism related business when so many layers are involved and rivalries occur. How many times have I, as editor, been taken aside and told that I should talk to them because the national or regional tourism body does nothing for the organisation involved.

Recent work at Visit Devon – the brand name of the Devon Tourism Partnership (DTP) – amongst its members reveals some of the issues involved. The DTP is made up of senior representatives from: Visit Dartmoor, English Riviera Tourism Company, Heart of Devon, North Devon+, Destination Plymouth, Visit South Devon, Devon County Council and the Devon Association of Tourism Attractions. It polled its members to see, firstly whether the overall b rand should continue and, secondly what should it do.

Overwhelmingly, members voted to continue the Visit Devon brand, the logic presumably being that Devon is a name well-known in its own right and that members see the advantage of banding together. They operate independently of local and national government funding promotions themselves but should local government not contribute given the amount of money that tourism brings to an area? In the case of Devon, tourism supports 14% of all employment in the county and is worth over £2 billion to the county economy.

Members voted to do what you might expect; – build an enhanced bespoke ‘Visit Devon’ website, invite journalists to visit and experience Devon, promote Devon better through social media, send regular emails promoting Devon to new and repeat visitors and to run campaigns promoting Devon. They also decided to promote Devon overseas, which will see ‘Visit Devon’ participating in the ‘Visit England’ and ‘Visit Britain’ overseas marketing campaign which will see the county promoted widely across a number of countries, including USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

But this is what every destination tries to do. They all compete with each other to gain our interest and our holidays. Is it enough? How do they stand out from others?

Over the next year, Just about Travel will look for the unusual approach to promoting destinations and attractions.

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