17.01.01
 

Objective One task force sets new goals for Cornwall’s tourism industry

New 10-year goals for the holiday business in Cornwall have been launched by tourism leaders in a move to boost income by nearly a third and secure the industry’s long-term future.

The goals also include Cornwall’s economy becoming less reliant on tourism, with the holiday business developing as part of a more mixed and growing economy.

Senior figures from across the sector have been working together in a task force set up as part of the Objective One programme to identify the challenges and opportunities for tourism – and how the sector should use the European funding available.

Now, their findings have been published in a new strategy, setting out four key priorities for ensuring Cornwall’s tourism industry is still a market leader in 2010 – as well as boosting the money generated for the region’s economy from £950 million a year to £1.25 billion a year.

The four priorities include:

setting up a new Internet portal to generate a million inquiries a year by 2003
targeted marketing to stimulate more high quality, year-round business, including from the overseas market
setting new quality standards
reorganising public sector support

Task force chair Cairns Boston said: “We can’t rest on our laurels. We have to move with the times and work together as an industry to ensure we deliver a high quality experience based on our unique culture, heritage and environment.”

Mr Boston is also chair of South West Tourism, chair of Cornwall College and a board member of the South West of England Regional Development Agency. He added that the new strategy aims to turn tourism into a year-round industry with 70% of businesses open 10 months or more a year and professional career and training structures.

He added: “We see this strategy as setting a benchmark for how the tourism industry can continue to make a significant and quality contribution to the economy of Cornwall for the next 10 years.

“It’s time for us all to pull together – both private and public sector – to agree on common standards and targets. In partnership we can make sure Cornwall remains a market leader in tourism and, by offering unique and quality experiences, win visitors from both at home and overseas.”

Deborah Smith of Cornwall Tourist Board added: “The tourism industry must be increasingly customer-led and not product-led. We face a continuing challenge to develop, maintain and constantly improve our products and services so that visitor expectations are met and hopefully exceeded.

“The market place is extremely competitive and we must be sophisticated in the promotional techniques that we use to raise awareness and attract new visitors.”


Simon Tregonning of the Cornwall Commercial Tourism Federation said that setting up a single Internet portal to market the whole of Cornwall would make an enormous difference.

He said: “Through a professional portal we can market the variety of tourism experiences that Cornwall has to offer. If we work together – both private and public sector – we can seize the enormous business potential that’s out there and achieve our targets for increasing visitor spend, as well as attracting new visitors and more off-season visitors.”

Challenges

A number of challenges to the industry are set out in the new strategy document from the task force.

Malcolm Bell from South West Tourism said one challenge is to recognise that the traditional holiday images are no longer solely appropriate. He said: “Consumers are no longer simply looking for a beach holiday but increasingly a wide variety of activities and a base for exploring the region.”

The document also highlights the fact that technology will play an increasingly major role in the sale of tourism products and customers across all sectors will demand higher quality services and facilities in line with rising living standards and expectations.

The task force says public products – such as car parks, toilets and other infrastructure – also have to meet rising standards to meet increased expectations.

Peter Mansfield, who represents the National Trust on the task force, said: “The environment of Cornwall is the core product for the industry – it is the landscape, heritage and culture that are vital to bringing visitors here and persuading them as they do to keep on coming back.

“Cornwall’s unique qualities also give all of us who live here such a special quality of life that must not be lost.”


Mr Mansfield added: “There is a strong linkage with the other Objective One initiatives being developed by the agriculture, heritage and cultural industries. The key thing about the tourism strategy is that it reflects the balanced integration of tourism into all the other aspects of life in Cornwall.”

The strategic priorities

The four strategic priorities set out in the new document are:

Targeted Marketing – using the already strong positive image and high quality environment to further enhance the “Cornwall Brand”, building the foundations for new tourism experiences and targeting potential visitors via a professional campaign. The task force aim to boost visitor numbers by a fifth – in particular targeting off-season business – by 2010.

Cornwall Etourism Solution – taking the opportunities offered by the Internet, particularly for short break and ‘last minute’ decisions, to offer up-to-date, easily accessible information thereby allowing visitors to book the holiday of their choice. The task force aim to set up a new Internet portal by 2003 capable of generating 1,000,000 inquiries a year.

Improving Quality – delivering quality improvements, driven by customer needs, relating to accommodation, attractions, produce & cooking, service and public facilities. The task force want to see quality awareness training and support delivered so that 85% of existing operators meet or exceed customer expectations by 2005.

Improving Support Structures – Recognising that tourism is a massive industry run by small businesses, the task force says there is a need to remove duplication, improve resources and professionalism so that this fragmented industry gets the leadership, direction and support needed. The task force says there should be a more effective public sector support structure in place – working with the Cornwall Commercial Tourism Federation by 2002.

To get a copy of the Tourism Task Force’s strategy call the Objective One Helpline on 0800 0280120 or visit the website www.objectiveone.com.

 

Editors notes:

Membership of Tourism Task Force

The task force will be made up of two groups – based on the Tourism Focus Group (part of the existing Cornwall Economic and Tourism Forum) but also with other members to ensure the full involvement of wider interests such as the cultural and heritage sectors.

The task force will also have a small management group, comprising:

Cairns Boston (Chair): Cornwall College/South West of England Regional Development Agency
Peter Mansfield: National Trust
Malcolm Bell: Chief Executive of South West Tourism.
Chris Dunstone: PROSPER/Small Business Service
Nick Howell: Cornwall Association Tourist Attractions/Cornwall Commercial Tourism Federation
Steve Kessell: North Cornwall District Council
Deborah Smith: Cornwall Tourist Board
James Staughton or Toby Ashworth: Cornwall Commercial Tourism Federation
Simon Tregonning: Cornwall Commercial Tourism Federation
Paul Wright: Restormel Borough Council

 


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk