Just over one year from acquiring and refurbishing Herefordshire’s flagship hotel, the Green Dragon Hotel team is collaborating with Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire (Herefordshire’s official Destination Marketing Organisation) and Rural Media in Hereford, and turning their attention to the future of the region’s tourism economy.
The Marches Tourism Forum, to be held at the Green Dragon on 21st January 2020, aims to breathe life back into the regional tourism offering.
The Forum will bring together a dream team of speakers, which includes Katrina Michel, former CEO of Visit Cheshire which, during her tenure, increased Cheshire’s tourism economy by 75%; Martin Orbach, founder of Abergavenny Food Festival, Lyndy Cooke who was the MD of Hay Festival for 15 years, Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall, Nic Millington from Rural Media and more to be announced soon.
Key Speaker Katrin Michel
The event will aim to encourage cross-border collaboration and conversation, bringing together strategic individuals, businesses and organisations in the private and public sector from across the Marches area, spanning as far as Monmouthshire, Shrewsbury and the Malvern Hills. As well as drawing inspiration from the main speakers, attendees will workshop ideas with the aim of creating a new agenda for regional tourism in 2020 and beyond.
Heidi Chamberlain-Jones from ESL commented:
“Tourism has been one of the fastest-growing parts of the UK’s economy for nearly a decade but it has been a very low priority in the Marches. It is great that a growing number of stakeholders in this region are waking up to the reality that an attractive visitor destination is critical to its economic sustainability and success. Change can only occur when we get people talking and working together, and we hope this event will stimulate conversations, working relationships and new ideas. Visitors are travelling across all The Marches borders, and with people passionate about the region - about its food and drink, its culture and heritage, its festivals and events and its wonderful natural landscapes - we need to nurture that passion into action now”.
Christian Dangerfield from the Green Dragon added:
“We know that Brexit may impact some of our most crucial economic areas, such as agriculture, and we need to ensure that tourism contributes more to the local economy. Herefordshire alone currently attracts around 5 million visitors a year. I’d like to see us double that number in the next decade but it will require a great deal of aspiration, inspiration, perspiration and, most importantly, collaboration to make that happen. We urgently need more significant discussion to develop a short, medium and long-term strategy which will deliver tangible economic benefits for the region.
The average expenditure of day visitors to the Marches is around £23 per head, compared to a national average of around £35. If we could close that gap, it would add several hundred million pounds a year to the region’s economy - and that’s before we add to the actual number of visitors. We really need to start joining some dots.”
More information and register to attend HERE