English Riviera Tourism Company to Lead on Development of Dedicated Tourism BID





17 November 2015         

English Riviera Tourism Company to Lead on Development of Dedicated Tourism BID


In the wake of the defeated ballot in respect of plans to launch a combined Retail and Tourism Business Improvement District for Torbay (TRTBID), the board of the English Riviera Tourism Company (ERTC) have met and unanimously agreed to explore the company’s original plans to develop a dedicated Tourism BID (TBID) as proposed in the Turning the Tide for Tourism in Torbay Strategy which was adopted by Torbay Council in 2009.

Chris Hart, Chair of the ERTC said, ‘’Although hugely disappointed and frustrated about the TRTBID ballot result, we firmly believe that a tourism sector BID is still the best option to secure sustainable and stable independent funds from both the private and public sector to invest in much needed national and international Destination Marketing Campaigns. It had been felt that joining forces with the retail sector was an effective way forward but that proposal has been rejected, largely by the retail sector. The fact is that Torbay Council will not be able to continue funding non-statutory services, notwithstanding the significance of tourism to the local economy. Since the formation of the ERTC, we have more than doubled the amount spent on national and international advertising as a result of the success of the Promotional Partner Programme. This has resulted in 5 years of consecutive visitor growth, but Promotional Partner income alone is not enough to carry out all the functions that the ERTC currently provides including: National and International Destination Marketing, Market Research, TV, Film and Media enquiries, Journalist Visits, Tourism Exhibition and Conferences, Welcome English Riviera Customer Service Training, Visitor Information Literature and running of the English Riviera Visitor Information Service. With ERTC funding from Torbay Council currently ending on 31st March 2016 all these services are now in danger of being withdrawn or seriously affected.’’

Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive of the ERTC said, ‘’Well managed BIDs can be hugely successful as a means to secure stable, independent funding and are being adopted by more and more leading tourism destinations. If Torbay wishes to stay competitive and attract new visitors year round, continued investment in professional and coordinated Destination Marketing is absolutely essential and the formation of a dedicated TBID managed by the ERTC could protect these services for a further 5 years.’’

Next steps include the preparation of an online consultation survey, which the ERTC will forward to tourism related businesses shortly asking whether they would support the development of a dedicated TBID, with a spring 2016 ballot possible.

In the meantime, the ERTC will need to revise all of their operations and budgets as a direct consequence of the failed TRTBID ballot last week and the English Riviera Visitor Information Centre on Torquay harbourside will close from January 1st until further notice as part of the savings now necessary.

For further information about the ERTC’s future plans please contact enquiries@englishriviera.co.uk