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East Midlands Chamber News

Peak push sparks £15.7m spending and jobs boost

Website-generated visits to the Peak District brought £15.7m into the area’s economy and created or safeguarded 107 tourism-linked jobs over six months, according to new research.

More than a third of the spending - around £5.7m – and all the jobs can be directly traced to tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s marketing during the first phase of the VisitEngland-led campaign ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, financed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, from September 2012 to March 2013.

Visit Peak District & Derbyshire is one of a number of English destinations sharing in a £19.8m pot of Government money secured by the national tourist board VisitEngland to boost tourism spend and create thousands of jobs between 2012 and 2015.

Thanks to RGF support, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire is currently forging ahead with marketing campaigns worth £600,000, including match funding from a range of private sector partners.

During the first phase of ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire ran a high-profile billboard campaign, goPEAKS.com, in Birmingham and Manchester, to inspire residents to go online and book short breaks and holidays.

Research carried out on behalf of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire revealed that 69 per cent of people who had visited gopeaks.com between September 2012 and March 2013 had been persuaded to take a short break, holiday or other overnight trip in the Peak District.

More than half (54%) found the website through an internet search engine, 14 per cent from a Visit Peak District & Derbyshire advertisement and ten per cent via the VisitEngland website.

Forty-six per cent said it encouraged them to visit more places than they originally planned to go to, and 44 per cent said it had persuaded them to visit the Peak District rather than another destination in the UK.

During that period, 91 per cent of website generated visits were taken as holidays, with an average stay of four nights taken by two people. More than half (57%) spent between £101 and £500 – with most of those (17%) spending between £201 and £300.

The growing impact of social media is also reflected in the research, which found that half of all website-generated visitors shared information about their visit online – with more than a quarter uploading photos of their visit on a social network or photo sharing website.

Around a fifth (19%) chatted to others on social networks, 14 per cent posted a review on a website, and 13 per cent forwarded or shared a link about an aspect of their visit.

“This is very encouraging news, given that we are gearing up to launch the second year of our ‘Growing Tourism Locally marketing activity in January 2014,” said David James, Chief Executive at the tourist board.

“It’s clear that online marketing activity is becoming increasingly important in encouraging visitors to come to the Peak District – and it’s particularly satisfying to see that those who are coming here as a result are staying an average of four nights, with most spending several hundred pounds.

“That can only be good news for the area’s economy, helping to create and safeguard more than 100 tourism-linked jobs in the process – and we look forward to consolidating and building on the progress we have made throughout 2014 and beyond.

“We’ll be revealing full details of the next phase of our RGF-linked marketing projects, including a high-profile television advertising campaign – the first that’s ever featured the Peak District – early in the New Year.”

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Cief Executive, added: “The RGF funding has provided a huge boost for tourism in England. This project enables our public and private sector partners to work together to stimulate tourism and ultimately create new jobs throughout the country, with particular emphasis on some local areas.

“The first year has proved incredibly successful, with destinations throughout the country benefiting significantly from this investment, boosting local economies and creating important jobs.”