Shropshire to be promoted as a first class tourist destination
Shropshire will be promoted as a first class tourist destination attracting visitors from far and wide as the county emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Shropshire Council and Visit Shropshire are delighted to announce they will be working together on a national marketing campaign to promote the county.
The High Sheriff of Shropshire, Tony Morris-Eyton, has also pledged his support for the campaign, and will be working closely with both organisations on a programme to help the county’s visitor economy recover.
The campaign will run between July 2021 and March 2022, and will raise awareness of all that Shropshire has to offer, develop a powerful tourism image, engage with local partners in the visitor economy, and engender local pride.
The marketing drive will be co-managed by Visit Shropshire, the county’s destination management organisation and Shropshire Council who will also appoint a tourism industry expert. Over the coming weeks other partners, including PR and media agencies, will be invited to join the initiative, and invitations to quote for several contracts will be advertised.
Tourism has been one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing industries and in the last 10 years growth has outperformed the construction and manufacturing sectors. Shropshire’s tourism sector attracted around 13million people in 2019, generating £470m in visitor spend and supporting15k jobs. These performance levels were severely damaged in 2020 and this year by the pandemic.
The pandemic has meant that many rural destinations which may previously have struggled to compete with city breaks and well-known brands such as The Lake District are now in heavy demand. Shropshire can deliver many of the experiences that people are now seeking: clean air, unspoilt landscapes, undiscovered towns and villages, absorbing stories and traditions, local food with low food miles, wellbeing and outdoor activities and the social life that everyone has missed so much.
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for tourism, said:
“The visitor economy has been heavily impacted by coronavirus, and many businesses have been closed for long periods.
“There is now an opportunity to promote Shropshire as a first in class place to visit for the day or on staycation. Shropshire is capable of rivalling other rural destinations such as The Peak District or the Cotswolds.
“Shropshire Council is very pleased to be joining forces with Visit Shropshire and Tony Morris-Eyton and is looking forward to working together on this vital initiative.”
Beth Heath, Chair of Visit Shropshire, added:
“Shropshire has a multitude of amazing experiences to offer visitors – culture and heritage, nature and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, two World Heritage Sites, local produce and a strong food culture, medieval market towns, opportunities to ‘get off the beaten track’ and explore, independent businesses – especially art and crafts – and a year round eclectic programme of festivals, fayres and events.”
Tony Morris-Eyton, The High Sheriff of Shropshire, said:
“Shropshire is a wonderful county with breathtaking countryside, a colourful history and rich architectural heritage with so much to offer not only to visitors from outside the county but also those that live here.
“I believe that tourism will help drive our economic recovery and I aim to play a part in that.”
In January 2021 Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Visit Shropshire and Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership issued a business support survey to understand the impact of the pandemic and latest national lockdown on Shropshire’s visitor economy and to hear the views from tourism businesses. Headlines from the survey include:
When asked what will be most important for business recovery, respondents stated:
- Attracting customers to my premises – 75%
- Driving footfall to the town/local area – 63%
- Building consumer confidence in safe visits – 61%
The campaign’s focus on Shropshire’s tourism sector will aim to support these needs.