Things have not been easy for Bath’s vital tourism industry during this pandemic and it’s reckoned it will take years to recover.
Across the Bath and Bristol area tourism and leisure services employs 45,000 people – that’s 8 per cent of the workforce – and contributes almost 2.5 billion to the economy.
That’s why – last night – l had a chat with Kathryn Davis who is Chief Executive Officer of Visit Bath. My interview was prompted by rumours l had heard about the fate of the Visitor Information Centre at Bridgwater House in Bath. It’s currently closed and l wanted to know if that was permanent.
After we had chatted and recorded our conversation Kathryn told me about a press release that would be issued tomorrow (Tuesday, July 14th) announcing that the boards of Destination Bristol and Visit Bath were proposing to join forces under a new Destination Management Organisation which could provide a full range of services to businesses in this sector whilst actively maintaining the distinctive local consumer brands Visit Bath and Visit Bristol, and the programmes and services that underpin these brands. Support will include both travel trade and consumer marketing, a convention bureau, business support and development.
The new organisation will be a significant industry presence creating new routes to market and putting the sub-region in a much stronger position to access new additional funding to support businesses in the sector.
The new organisation will need to reflect the diversity and strength of the sector and bringing together the two existing DMOs will provide better value for money and greater efficiency of operation.
The Boards say they recognise the crucial importance of working closely with local government to develop an appropriate public/private sector partnership focused on maximising the visitor economy, and will work closely with Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils.
Kathryn commented about that new plan AFTER we had recorded our interview. Forgive me if l switch things around so she comments about the proposals before answering my question about the Tourist Information Centre.