Tourism is one of the key drivers of economic growth to the South Warwickshire economy and surrounding areas. It generates a total business turnover to the area of £631 million annually and supports 11,077 jobs. Across the whole county it generates a total business turnover of just over £1 billion to the local economy, which supports 18,395 jobs.
With so many individuals, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and public and private sector bodies involved in aspects of tourism across the area - including the marketing, management and development of the visitor economy - it is important that there is a focused plan with clear priorities.
Shakespeare's England is the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) responsible for the production and implementation of the Destination Management Plan for the region.
Shakespeare's England is the official destination management organisation for Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and the surrounding towns and villages.
It is a not-for-profit membership organisation supported by the region's key tourism businesses and local authorities.
Its role is to encourage visitors to South Warwickshire and the surrounding areas and to encourage overnight stays. It is responsible for the production and implementation of the destination management plan.
It is a public-private sector partnership, and board members include the following organisations:
Shakespeare's England is supported and co-funded by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council. Shakespeare's England is recognised by Visit England and Visit Britain as the official tourism body for the area.
The information gathered through assessing the strengths, issues, barriers and opportunities in the Shakespeare's England region gives a clear direction to this destination management plan and sets out a route map for priorities and action. Each of the priorities sets the scene for implementation across the destination management plan.
Priority One : Evidence base and intelligence
This priority underpins much of understanding of the destination, where we are and what our opportunities are. Research and intelligence must be consistent and collected across the region; turning this intelligence into evidence will be crucial to underpin and give a rationale to identified development opportunities and potential funding bids.
Priority Two: Destination (infrastructure) development
In terms of physical development, this priority provides the focus for key infrastructure development opportunities (from signage to scoping new developments) and the strategic direction and connectivity required to implement the identified needs.
Priority Three: Market development
This priority outlines how we decide what markets provide our best opportunities to increase volume and value of visitors. The Shakespeare's England region has a broad appeal and attracts a wide range of visitors, across a wide range of markets. It will be crucial to develop new markets that provide opportunities for the best growth, to assess the offer of the destination in terms of its product market fit, its appeal to new markets and the process of how we can develop the product to appeal to their needs.
Priority Four: Communication and profile
This priority focuses on the need for the Shakespeare's England region to better communicate its location and wide offer, pinpointing its position in the UK and its profile as a destination of international importance. It provides opportunities for closer joint working on digital platforms and focused, joined-up branding.
Priority Five: Product development
Opportunities for product development have been identified; this priority outlines the key actions needed to develop new products and offers to attract new markets and extend the dwell time/return propensity of existing visitors.
Priority Six: Welcome, information and experience
There is an identified need to improve the welcome provided to visitors, from online information at the start of their journey to the overall experience they have in the region during their stay. This would include the welcome from businesses and local residents alike to joint ticket, packages and special promotions. This priority focuses efforts around this theme.
Priority Seven: Skills, business development, education and careers
The development of careers and people working in the industry has been identified as a priority - the actions in this area will focus on skills, business development, apprenticeships and better working relationships between employers and education providers.