Tourism action plan in pipeline for St Albans

PUBLISHED: 18:05 27 February 2013

Proposed position of Samuel Ryder Statue on St Peters Street

Proposed position of Samuel Ryder Statue on St Peters Street

Archant

A FIVE-year tourism ‘action plan’ is being considered at a cabinet meeting tomorrow (Thursday) in a bid to improve St Albans’ visitor economy.

The proposed strategy hopes to get the district’s visitor numbers on par with its competitors such as Winchester and Salisbury.

Plans to achieve this include introducing a clearer new branding to raise the profile of St Albans, increasing marketing campaigns and developing a joint ticketing arrangement such as a Heritage Pass.

Also in the pipeline is the possibility of a Christmas market and other seasonal experiences.

In 2010, the district attracted 1.6 million visitors, generating an estimated £160 million.

The objective is to increase the number of visitors by around 40 per cent to 2.2 million in 2018 and boost money produced by 55 per cent to £250 million.

But visitor research carried out last August showed that the number of visitors attracted to the city was low compared to its competitors which has been put down to several issues such as the lack of a clear and dynamic branding, understanding the existing and potential market and lack of effective coordination and partnership working.

The research identified dissatisfaction in two areas – the cost and ease of parking and the Tourist Information Centre, the quality and usefulness of which was rated slightly lower than other heritage cities.

A number of objectives have now been identified to raise the profile of the city and district. They include maximising the benefits of new technology in promotion and marketing, delivering an inspirational welcome at main entry and key visitor information points and developing initiatives to support retailers and incentives to encourage repeat visits.

Councillor Beric Read, portfolio holder for community engagement and localism at the council, said: “St Albans District has a rich heritage, a variety of restaurants and pubs and great shopping.

“This package needs to be marketed more effectively to attract more visitors who will spend money in the local economy.

“The Council has already produced a new visitor website, www.enjoystalbans.com, to help provide visitors with the information they need.

“However, further action is required to turn St Albans into a top visitor destination.”

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