The Council’s Cabinet have agreed to retain the Council’s membership of the Destination Management Partnership (DMP) / Destination Staffordshire until March 2024.
Cabinet also agreed to the proposed increase in membership subscription, which will rise from £3,000 to £15,000 per annum for the next two years. The increase has been agreed in recognition of the reduction in private sector sponsorship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cannock Chase is a significant contributor to the Staffordshire tourism offer and offers a variety of visitor attractions including the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and linked attractions but also new attractions such as the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands.
The District is also set to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games mountain biking event, which brings huge opportunities to build the profile of the District in the run up to and during the games and create a lasting legacy for the future.
Councillor Mike Sutherland, Portfolio Leader for District Development said “This membership is essential to raise the identity of Cannock Chase and maximise the benefits of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands. With 2-3 million visitors to the Designer Outlet Village each year, we want these visitors to stay longer and visit other places in the District.
“As a Council we need to do all we can to boost Cannock Chase as a destination, we are lucky to live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We are hosting the mountain biking event for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. We will be closely monitoring the service we get from the membership to ensure we are getting value for money.”
Destination Staffordshire is the official tourist board for Staffordshire, whose mission is to attract more visitors into the county for day trips and overnight stays, working with local authorities to grow the industry.
Staffordshire County Council (SCC) hosts and part funds the operations of the DMP and it has recently carried out a review of the work they do. This review concluded that changes needed to take place following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the decline in private sector sponsorship, which has been the reason for the increase in membership to the public sector.
SCC have indicated that the refreshed focus will include:
- Targeted marketing and campaigns to maximise Staffordshire’s profile and to attract more visitors.
- Overseeing and commissioning research and intelligence to inform the activities of the visitor economy sector and to shape the county’s offer and future priorities.
- Invest additional resource to fund the appointment of a Visitor Partnership Development Manager
- Lobbying and advocacy work to influence key policy makers to shape the direction of the sector and maximise Staffordshire’s role and profile.
- Business support activities and signposting to help the visitor economy renew and transform following on from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills said “Staffordshire is home to world-class visitor attractions that attract visitors from across the UK and beyond. Our tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors contribute £1.87billion to the Staffordshire economy every year. The pandemic has hit those sectors directly with a significant knock-on effect to people and businesses across the county.
“We want to build on the extensive programme of support we’ve already delivered to Staffordshire businesses in the past year. Working through a revitalised Destination Management Partnership with Cannock Chase Council and other local authorities we want to reignite tourism in Staffordshire and turn up the volume on the amazing attractions that call our county home.
“The recently launched Staffordshire story and brand-new approach to marketing our great county presents a further opportunity to reboot the activities and priorities of the Destination Management Partnership and provide the impetus for us to reinforce Staffordshire’s position as the nationally valued centre of the UK.”