Posted on October 11th 2019
It can hardly have passed anyone by who visits Gloucester today, that there have been massive changes in the last ten years. Nowhere have these changes been reflected more than in the massive growth in the number of day visitors and tourists visiting the city from elsewhere in the UK and abroad. The growing success of Gloucester Quays and its events, the beautiful regeneration to the Cathedral quarter, the beautiful historic docks, the refurbished Waterways Museum and this year the restored Llanthony Secunda Priory along with successful events such as the Gloucester Tall Ships and Adventure Festival, Aethelflaed celebrations, SoMAC, Siblings Distillery Art in The City, Gloucester History Festival and the Pro. Insurance Gloucester Goes Retro have all contributed to providing activities and attractions for visitors that has led to a phenomenal growth in visitors to the city.
In 2015 Gloucester overtook Cheltenham in terms of the number of day visitors and total spend of visitors in the city. with nearly £212 million spent by visitors in 2018, a 68% increase on 2010.
Some highlights from the independent South West Research Company shows that in 2018 there were :
- 3,456,000 day visitors to Gloucester and increase of 8% on 2017
- 1,004,000 nights stayed in Gloucester Hotels, B&Bs and so-on – a significant increase from 920,000 in 2017
- A 23% growth from 2017 to 2018 in foreign visitors staying overnight
- 6% of all employment in the city related to tourism
Jason Smith Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester commented “Gloucester is now very firmly on the tourist map and these figures demonstrate how important it is that as a city we plan for the expected continued growth and the important role that Marketing Gloucester with our partners has had in delivering that growth. It is crucial that we particularly facilitate the development of new hotels, especially in the fully serviced sector as due to the few hotels we have, the strong growth in overnight visitors will be restricted. It is also important going forward that we ensure that we have skilled staff in the hospitality sector and continue to invest in developing bookable products for tour operators”
Paul James leader of Gloucester city Council, said that he was encouraged by the figures commenting “All of the efforts that are going into regeneration of the city by the council, cathedral and private sector partners such as Peel, alongside the high profile promotion for the city which has been led on by Marketing Gloucester are really bearing fruit, bringing money and jobs to the city. Undoubtedly as Kings Quarter and other projects around the city are completed, we are likely to see the number of tourist and spend continue to increase”
Recently Marketing Gloucester was successful in bidding for part of a £500,000 fund to bring in US tourists to the city and it is expected that this will see a big upturn in visitors from the USA in 2020.
The above figures highlight how important Marketing Glouecster is to the economic health of the city and some highlights of what has been achieved over the years include:
- Successes in developing regular sponsorship supporting the events delivered by Marketing Gloucester.
- Led on the successful development of Gloucester BID and has a high level of support from the 570 businesses which are members and are investing £2.5 million in the city
- Beat 50 other cities to win prestigious ATCM Best Digital High Street Project in 2018 for the GL Card which received over £370,000 investment to develop in Gloucester
- Won £400,000 for capex to develop UK:DRIC, the new national digital high street innovation centre
- Initiated funding bids to Arts Council England and developed the Glouecster Cultural Strategy
- Led on successful bids totalling £90,000 for external funding to deliver carnival 2018 and 2019 with carnival arts partnership
Since 2016 Marketing Gloucester has consistently raised more income externally than the funding provided by the city council raising over £1.7 million from sponsors, commercial activities and other funding.
The important role that marketing Gloucester has played in helping the city be a cleaner, safer, more vibrant place to live, work, invest, visit and study has been recognised independently in the recent report commissioned by the Council Strategy options for the Gloucester Economy – My Local Economy, January 2017
“With Marketing Gloucester in Place, the City has the organisational capacity that so many other towns and cities lack. It is a real advantage to have the capability for business facing and visitor promotion.”
A report produced for Cheltenham Borough Council states “Marketing Gloucester – demonstrates what can be achieved via a purposeful and single-minded approach to the positioning, product and marketing development of a destination.” Since this report, Cheltenham Borough Council have formed Marketing Cheltenham to try and replicate the success in Gloucester.
The Board and dedicated team at Marketing Gloucester have also worked hard on actions to reduce core costs to the bone and find external funding to ensure services are delivered as requested by the council.
Marketing Gloucester also has a number of other successes, as it has worked towards making Gloucester a better place for businesses, residents and visitors alike including:
- Events such as the Scrumpty sculpture trail, The Beatrix Potter Trail and Henson Pig trail bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and funded by Marketing Gloucester through sponsorship without public money
- The sourcing, set up and relocation of the Gloucester Antiques Centre
- Over three hundred arts organisations and individuals supported each year through the investment brought in through Marketing Gloucester from external sources above that through local government funding
- Lead on the successful delivery of the fanzone and cultural events during the Rugby World Cup 2015