The latest figures come from The South West Research Company shown continued growth in 2016 following the record-breaking year for Gloucester in 2015 when it was a Rugby World Cup host city. Gloucester’s visitor economy is gathering pace faster than any other area in the county. In 2016 visitors spent over £204 million in the city – a massive increase of 71 per cent from 2013.
Whilst Gloucester has recently performed strongly as a destination for day visits (3.25million, up 2.6%), things also look encouraging for the accommodation sector with 342,000 staying visitors (2.0% increase). Gloucester’s visitor economy directly benefits local businesses by providing an aggregate turnover of £195 million and supporting 4,118 jobs. Also encouraging was the number of staying visits was 342,000 over the year, showing a 2% growth on 2015.
But Gloucester is not standing still. Through Marketing Gloucester’s work on the Discover England Fund US Connections project, Gloucester will be promoted to the worldwide cruise market at the prestigious Seatrade Global Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this week. The city’s cathedral, docks and other attractions make it an ideal excursion destination for passengers docking at the Bristol Cruise Terminal, just one hour’s coach drive away.
Training for Tourism Sector
Also this week, attractions with a US link and hoteliers were invited to learn more about working with the group travel trade industry to ensure that they are ready to receive the expected increase in visitors from across the Atlantic in 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage. Gloucester Cathedral, Discover de Crypt, Gloucestershire Archives, National Waterways Museum, English Holiday Cruises and Hallmark Hotel Gloucester held many positive discussions during the session about working together to develop attractive packages for the US group market and demonstrated an appetite for further collaboration with support from Marketing Gloucester.
Marketing Gloucester are looking ahead to Residents‘ Weekend (6 – 8 April) where attractions and businesses are providing special offers to GL Cardholders. Temporary GL Card membership will continue so that visitors to the city can also enjoy the rewards of the scheme. Plans for SoMAC, Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts and Culture are already well advanced with former England cricketer, Jack Russell, participating in WSP Art In The City (14 – 15 July) as well as the Gloucester Carnival and Gloucester Goes Retro. Marketing Gloucester will also be providing PR and social media marketing support to its partners for events surrounding the important anniversaries of the death of Aetheflaed and the English Civil War Siege of Gloucester later this year.
21st Century Tourism Information
Marketing Gloucester are also exploring the feasibility of an interactive visitor orientation centre for the new bus station to assist visitors arriving at the new gateways of the city in signposting them to the attractions services and restaurants they want. Through Marketing Gloucester’s role in establishing the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre, it is hoped that prospective technology partners will be forthcoming.
Marketing Gloucester also manage activities on behalf of the Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID), with events such as the successful Gloucester Folk Trail bringing the highly anticipated zip wire to the city in June.
The BID has also invested in the City Protection Officers and is co-funding taxi marshals with Gloucester City Council and is supporting the city’s pursuit of ‘Purple Flag’ status as a safe and vibrant destination.
Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, said: “The excellent figures show successes being achieved in promoting the city and as importantly investment and hard work in developing our city as a product which is attractive as a tourist destination, with investment from the Great Places scheme and Visit England’s Discover England Fund Gloucester has a great opportunity to build on this success and support the vitality of our local economy.”