Collaboration is the key to unlocking the vast potential of the region’s visitor economy – that was the main message to come out of the annual Visit Peak District, Derbyshire and Derby Tourism Conference.
Recently held in Buxton, the event, hosted by Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, in collaboration with Visit Derby, as the area’s official Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), saw more than 120 industry leaders come together to discuss tourism insights, emerging trends and new opportunities for growth and collaboration.
It also highlighted the importance of accessibility and sustainability in strengthening the area’s tourism offer and attracting new visitors to the destination.
Visit Peak District, Derbyshire & Derby’s status as an LVEP – a new national portfolio of accredited tourism organisations, administered by VisitEngland – was a key focus of the conference and delegates heard how the organisation will drive tourism strategy for the region, working in partnership with local, regional and national stakeholders to deliver visitor economy priorities.
As an LVEP, Visit Peak District, Derbyshire & Derby will be eligible to bid for government funding streams to support the growth of the visitor economy, and the organisation will also be able to access additional support from VisitEngland including dedicated toolkits and training.
The keynote speech was delivered by VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes OBE, who said: “I was delighted to attend the Visit Peak District, Derbyshire & Derby Tourism Conference and see first-hand the Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) in action providing expert support and guidance to tourism businesses and hearing about the exciting and ambitious plans for growth.
“LVEPs are at the heart of transforming the visitor economy landscape in England, and we are delighted to be working with the Visit Peak District, Derbyshire & Derby LVEP on the national programme.”
Also among the speakers was Diane Beresford, from East Midlands Chamber, who provided an overview of the Derbyshire Accelerator project, which aims to help local businesses to start, sustain, grow and innovate.
Rob Gorton, chair of the Derby Destination Development Board and senior manager at Toyota Manufacturing UK, presented a vision to make Derby a vibrant place to live, work and visit, while Jamie Quince-Starkey, founder of Down To Earth Derby discussed his ‘dream’ to make the city the eco-tourism focal point of the country through nature-based regeneration.
Jo Dilley, managing director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “We’re proud to have combined our strengths to become the East Midlands’ first accredited Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), and now the hard work must really begin to ensure our local tourism and hospitality businesses can unleash their potential and thrive for years to come.
“As the industry continues to face major challenges – such as rising costs and high inflation – never has collaboration been more important, and having LVEP status means we are working more closely with our neighbours across the region to build a strong, sustainable sector that works for all.
“Our visitor economy is integral not just to those who live, work and visit here, but for the fabric of our places and communities.
“That is why it is essential that we work together to showcase our diverse and vibrant tourism offer, and the brilliant and hardworking visitor economy businesses who provide memorable experiences for millions of visitors each year.”