Bath & North East Somerset Council has agreed to continue to invest in tourism development by taking over sole ownership of its destination management services provider Bath Tourism Plus (BTP).
At a meeting this week it was agreed that the move would provide a more stable and robust future for the organisation – making it a more sustainable business, for the benefit of the local economy.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “Tourism generates £430m for the local economy, supporting 9,400 jobs and this decision cements our support for the sector – which in turn benefits the local community.
“Bath Tourism Plus is currently jointly owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Chamber of Commerce. In order to support our commitment to tourism in the area its ownership will now be transferred to the council.
This means we can secure the long term future of BTP, and ensure that Bath and North East Somerset continues to be an attractive destination for visitors locally, nationally and from around the world.”
Ian Bell, Chairman of Bath Tourism Plus, said: “As one of the founding members of BTP, the priority for Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES has always been to ensure that the company has the ability to deliver economic growth for the area. We are focussed on what will be the best for the industry and visitors and we will continue to work with the Council on the details for the new arrangements.”
David James, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus, explained: “I am delighted that the Council has re-affirmed their full support for BTP. This new financial stability will allow BTP to focus on what it does best which is promoting the destination at home and abroad and supporting the brilliant work of our members who make a massive contribution to our local economy.”
Celia Mead (Executive Director), Bath Festivals, said: “Bath Festivals welcome this stability to the structure of their partnership with Bath Tourism Plus and look forward to working together to improve events provision for Bath and the region, for the enjoyment of both residents and tourists alike.”
Lyndsey Swift, Head of England Action Plan, Visit England, said: “Bath Tourism Plus are well placed to run the destination management services and this would broaden out the scope of their existing work for the Council.”
The city of Bath has a well-established visitor economy with both domestic and international tourists visiting. With its World Heritage status, cultural, spa and independent shopping credentials the city plays an important role in the Bath and North East Somerset, B&NES, economy.
Tourists currently spend £430m in the local economy, supporting 9,400 local jobs and producing £303m Gross Value Added (GVA) per annum into the local B&NES economy. Employment in the visitor economy has increased by 3.2% over the last five years and is forecast to continue to grow by circa 3,500 jobs.
BTP is a limited company set up in 2003, owned jointly by the Council and Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES. To put BTP on a more secure footing the Council is being asked to agree to take on full ownership of the company.
There are no proposed changes to the services provided by BTP, and its consumer-facing brand visitBath; the proposed changes are just to the administrative set-up of the company.