Members of the Great South West Tourism Partnership met with British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain/VisitEngland) Chair, Nick de Bois, and VisitEngland Director, Andrew Stokes, in Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, this week. The visit hosted by The Box, Plymouth included a roundtable session to discuss key issues and opportunities within the visitor economy in the South West region.

Key topics included the challenge around skills and recruitment, the impact of the difficult current economic climate and statutory registration and exploring opportunities linked to the new data hub and AI. Discussions also included an update on the current re-structuring process for tourism in England and the statutory consultation which is taking place across Devon and Somerset.

Destinations attending included Visit Cornwall, Visit Somerset, English Riviera BID, Visit Devon, Visit South Devon, Visit Exmoor, the Professional Association of Self Caterers and Destination Plymouth, who were hosting.

Chair of the British Tourist Authority, Nick de Bois, said: It has been fantastic to visit Plymouth and see first-hand the outstanding tourism products on offer and to hear from businesses across the area about the exciting and ambitious plans for growth, as well as the challenges they are facing. Tourism is so vital to the economy across the South West and it is great to see the activity that the Great South West Tourism Partnership is delivering, working with businesses and stakeholders to attract domestic and overseas visitors, boosting the visitor economy.”

Amanda Lumley, Chair of the Great South West Tourism Partnership and Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth, said: We are delighted that Nick and Andrew have been able to travel to the South West to visit us today. We have had a great opportunity to share with them some of the challenges that our businesses are currently facing and also to consider how we continue to work together to make the most of opportunities going forwards. It is always good for our colleagues working at national and government level to get first-hand feedback and authentic insights from the ground upwards and we really value that.”

Cllr Jemima Laing, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “It is always wonderful to have the opportunity to show off what is so great about our city. I really enjoyed having the chance to talk with Nick and Andrew about why it’s such a brilliant place to visit with so much to offer.”

Great South West Tourism Partnership meet with British Tourist Authority Chair and VisitEngland Director

Back row: Amanda Lumley, Destination Plymouth; Jo Butler, Visit South Devon; Alistair Handyside, PASC; Robin Barker, Visit Exmoor; Carolyn Custerson, English Riviera BID; Malcolm Bell, Visit Cornwall; John Turner, Visit Somerset

Front row: Jemima Laing, Deputy Leader at Plymouth City Council; Nick de Bois, VisitBritain; Andrew Stokes, VisitEngland; Sally Everton, Visit Devon