Month: January 2017

Can you help improve the VE annual Visitor Attraction and their new Business, Visits and Events surveys?

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Please see a the following copy of a request for local assistance to improve this year’s English annual Visitor Attractions survey and their new Business, Visits and Events survey (for BV&E see last para). I would urge colleagues in England to try and find the time to carry out the relatively simple tasks outlined.  Original email message reads:

Dear colleagues,

We (at VisitEngland) will soon be launching our Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions, collecting data on 2016. The survey is an official statistic that is used by government and the wider industry to gauge the performance of the attractions industry. The survey attracts wide media interest, and participating attractions receive their own benchmarking report of results. Results from previous years of the survey can be found here:

There are a number of ways that destination organisations such as yourselves can help us to boost the response rate of the survey and thus make the data for your area more robust. As a matter of urgency, please let us know as soon as you can if you are aware of any attractions that have opened in your destination in the past two years. Providing us with information on attraction closures is also of use as it will help us to keep survey costs down.

Other ways your organisation may be able to help:

  • Encouraging attractions in your area to participate in the survey, and where possible allow us to publish their visitor figures. We are able to provide you with suggested copy for newsletters and other communications to help with this.
  • Should you receive any enquiries about the survey from attractions you are unable to answer, please direct these to Please also direct attractions to send an email to this address if they have not received the survey by the end of March.
  • If you also collect any attraction visitor figures, it would be great if we can use these to ‘plug the gaps’ where attractions don’t answer our survey. These results can either be published with the attractions’ permission, or used anonymously in our trend results.

Please be in touch if you are able to help in any way with the survey. The survey will go out to attractions by post and online from mid-February, and there are numerous reminders sent out until the closing date on the 1st May.

Through the Discover England Fund, we have also recently launched a project to research the business, visits and events (BV&E) sector. Destinations with a large BV&E offering will receive a separate email from our team regarding ways in which you can help with the survey. However, we are hoping to identify a range of business, trade or corporate events where we can interview delegates between March and November 2017, so if your destination is hosting an event which you believe may be appropriate to include in the study, please be in touch. We are particularly looking for events with an international presence.

Thanks in advance for your help with these projects.

Kind regards,


Abbie McPhie

Insights Consultant

VisitEngland, Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

T: 020 7578 1415 | E:

For England tourism: W: | Twitter: @VisitEnglandBiz | LinkedIn: VisitEngland

For destination inspiration: W: | Twitter: @VisitEngland | Facebook: VisitEngland


Inbound Decisions and Influences research published

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In late December Visit Britain/VisitEngland published the results of new research conducted during 2016 in 20 key markets.  Produced by Ipsos Connect it looks at the decision and influences for those visiting the UK. It has been posted within the VE Discover England Fund webpages (even though it has clear UK utility) and not to my knowledge at least had much promotion. At 115 pages it’s a big report and it looks daunting when first scanned as there is page upon page of tables and graphics. Don’t be daunted as there is a very simple pattern to it which I will share with you now.

The paper has an introduction and three main sections: Britain and its Competitors, Holiday Research and Planning and Holiday Booking, plus 23 odd pages of appendices.

Each of the 3 main body sections is colour coded and starts with a summary No 1 page. That page then summarizes in text the main points arising from the pages of data that follow it up to summery No 2 page which then summarizes the main points in the pages that follow it and so on.  Each main body section has either 3 or 4 summary pages within it (at pages 9, 18, 24 pages 32, 41, 46, 54 and pages 61, 66, 70 78).

Each individual data page that follows a summary page has a short text summary of that page’s key finding(s) in a coloured box to match that section’s colour code at its head; as do each page of the appendices at the end of the paper.  Finally each section concludes with single summary page of that section’s key findings (at pages 29, 58 and 89, all coloured coded in red).

Although well worth studying in full at some point, you can get a very quick overview by: reading the 3 main, red heading, summary pages only.  A good feel by reading these plus the section summaries in their page order and a very good feel indeed by reading all of the summary pages plus the individual page summary headings within the sections and appendices; again probably best done in correct page order and not that much of a task. (I.e. just scan through the full document but only looking for and reading all the coloured summaries) .

The report is packed with potentially useful findings but the immediate, “so what’s?” are still I am afraid left to you to decide, as appropriate to your local circumstances and plans. I hope my rough and ready user guide helps rather than hinders you.

Names of new Chair for Visit Britain and VisitEngland advisory board announced

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In case you missed the news of the appointment of a new chairman for  VB board and VE advisory boards made earlier this week, the VB/VE announcement can be found at:   Steve Ridgway and Denis Wormwell will take up their respective appointment with effect from 1 April 2017.

Update your entries on

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A reminder to all member destinations, to consider updating your own page of factual detail on our public facing website  Yes it is now a rather an old style website but, as one of the few with a mixed national spread of destinations, it still works remarkably well at both directing potential customers to your own websites and, if you have enabled the facility, generating a steady trickle of brochure requests throughout the year.  A flow which peaks in the first quarter, hence the reminder to update the detail now.

The site requires individual user names and passwords for each destination which are separate to that for corporate website  There is a recovery facility, but failing that if you have forgotten the detail just email me.

The three areas which need attention are: your main page detail, the events section which is optional and the administrative section which holds the brochure fulfilment email address. If it is enabled then please do check the address is correct and functioning.

Any members who have not so far taken up the free page but now want to, should also contact me.  It takes a little time and effort to populate the page but thereafter it is just a case of an annual tweak.

English Riviera Tourism BID update

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Following today’s earlier update on rural Select Committee and Business Improvement District I am delighted to be able to correct my comments on what I believed was the still  a pending appeal against the successful English Riviera Tourism BID.

The Secretary of State dismissed the appeal on the 19th December and having had several months to prepare during the unnecessary period of delay the new BID company was able to take over responsibility for The English Riviera Tourism Company as the Destination Marketing Organisation with effect from 1 January 2017.  After the unfortunate period of delay it is now full steam ahead; congratulations to all concerned.  See more at:

Rural Select Committee and Destination BID updates.

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1. Both the Tourism Alliance and ourselves were invited to provide further written comment to the EFR Select Committee on three questions which, due to time constraints, were not put to us during the oral evidence session in mid-December.  The comments submitted by 13 January have now been added to the page dedicated to this inquiry (last item on the page):

2. The Isle of Wight Destination BID approved in July 2016 went live this January (congratulations to all concerned).  The narrative within Business Improvement Districts & Tourism page on has now been updated to reflect a number of other recent changes.  Among a number of additions to the page are the links to the Wight BID business plan and suite of other useful Wight BID documents (see para 3 for these):

3. Meanwhile the outcome of the English Riviera Tourism BID appeal is still keenly awaited.  Also approved in July 16 this BID was subsequently called in on the grounds of what we (I) feel was a fatuous objection. Let’s hope the Secretary of State agrees and that he does so as soon as possible.  Further unnecessary delay of this excellent major initiative isn’t in anyone’s interests within the Torbay area or indeed nationally as it simply creates more reasons for other destinations to be (needlessly?) cautious about exploring the Destination BID avenue.

Wales Tourism funds applications closing 24 February – proposal guidance now online

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Recently published details of the application process for the £2.5 m over two year Tourism Product Innovation Fund and Regional Tourism Engagement Funds in Wales can now be found on the page at:


Visit Britain international tourism update

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Two things on VB and international inbound tourism:

1. I am attending the VB British Tourism Industry Group meeting a week today (14 January).  Please take a look at the agenda  btig-agenda-jan-2017 and let me know if there are any issue on the international tourism that you would wish me to raise (that you think I won’t raise anyway) and/or anything significant to add to add to the industry “how is business” round-up.  I will raise the subject of where the post Northern and SW Growth Fund research has got to, albeit it is now almost now too late for it to inform current Discover England Fund bids.  Nonetheless it still should have relevance to future policy and strategy direction.  British Destinations members can access passed BTIG minutes at:

2. VB has just published their annual inbound tourism forecast 2017, which also includes confirm of their assessment of  the full year performance in 2016.  As ever, an excellent insight from VB.  The headline news is a forecast for growth in visits by 4% on 2016 and 8.1% in value.  The detail behind this prediction is contained in an easily readable single page that includes some informative notes of caution and caveats on UK and world economic performance and other notable external influences. An absolute must for at least a quick scan but also short enough and well worth the effort of reading in full:

Board and Executive Minutes and GB Day Visitor Statistics published

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1. The latest joint Board and Executive Minutes from the late October meeting can now be accessed from the member’s only protected page at:

Forgotten the password, then email me.

2. Also I have belatedly added the Great Britain Day Visitors Survey 2015 (published in 2016) to the reports and statistics library:

3. Meanwhile Great Britain Day Visitor Statistics monthly figures for 2016, so far published up to November 2016 are showing high levels of growth and increasing expenditure during 2016.  Day-Visitors-Nov-2016. However, until the ongoing issues with Great Britain Tourism Statistics (staying trips and nights) is resolved we don’t have access to any comparable national domestic staying figures for 2016, so it remains difficult to assess how much, if any of this welcome additional growth in day trips, is attributable to displacement of short breaks and longer domestic holidays.

Caution is required because we know from repeated experience that the reaction to economic shock or major uncertainties include not only from our prospective welcome substitution of oversea trips for domestic holidays but also varying degrees of substitution of domestic short breaks and longer holidays for multiple day trips .  We need to be able to understand the totality of the story and not just headlines of one or more component part of the visitor economy. Hopefully the unfortunate glitch with GBTS 2016 figures, which it must be stressed is not of any of the  National Tourist Boards or the ONS Tourism Intelligence Unit’s making, will be resolved shortly.