Go Cotswolds achieves record year of business during tenth anniversary


Published on 9 April 2024
Archived on 9 May 2024

Go Costwolds news release

A growing guided tour company in Warwickshire is gearing up to emulate a record year of business during its tenth anniversary following investment in new vehicles and expanding its workforce.

Go Cotswolds, which is based in Alcester and provides guided tours of the Cotswolds, welcomed a record 3,700 visitors from across the world in 2023 - almost double the number in 2019 - helping the business to achieve an annual turnover of more than £260,000.

Their growth has been supported with a £4,500 grant from Warwickshire County Council's Adapt & Diversify scheme during the Covid pandemic to develop marketing materials.

Around 40 per cent of Go Cotswolds' customers originate from the United States and Canada, but since 2019 the co-founders Tom and Lisa Benjamin have noticed a steady increase in visitors from India - which made up four per cent of their customer base last year.

And to help cope with rising demand for 2024 and beyond, Go Cotswolds is set to take delivery of its fourth 16-seater bus in May - taking the business's investment in vehicles over the past 12 months to around £150,000.

The business has also recruited five part-time guides over the past year to boost the number of daily tours it provides, taking their team to eight.

To mark the ten-year milestone, Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, and Darren Tosh, Operations and Marketing Director at Shakespeare's England, learned more about the business's growth.

Tom said: "Investment in new vehicles and additional staff means we can continue to grow by capitalising on the rising demand we are currently seeing from both traditional and emerging markets.

"We love being able to put South Warwickshire, the Cotswolds and its surrounding areas on the global map - it's a real passion of both mine and Lisa's first and foremost - so to have been able to have developed this into a business that has stood the test of time makes us really proud, but also appreciative of the support we have had from other organisations along the way.

"Warwickshire County Council, for example, provided us with a £4,500 grant from their Adapt & Diversify scheme as we approached the end of the Covid pandemic, which enabled us to overhaul our marketing materials with professional photography, videography and design work.

"Shakespeare's England, meanwhile, has been invaluable in signposting us to places that we can access professional support ever since we formed the business - so to have both organisations visiting us to mark our anniversary feels very apt, as without them I'm not sure where we'd be."

Go Cotswolds also benefited from the business support delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as part of Project Warwickshire. This programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council, provides a range of support opportunities to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector including one-to-one business coaching, workshops and networking opportunities.

Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council's portfolio holder for economy, said: "As an Alcester-based company, we're delighted to see Go Cotswolds thrive. It's great to see our support paying off and bringing additional employment into the area. We would also expect many of the tourists to the Cotswolds to also make a short trip to Warwickshire and see what we are offering here so it is another market that we can look to attract. I hope that many of Warwickshire's hospitality businesses will enjoy some benefit."

Darren Tosh, Operations and Marketing Director at Shakespeare's England, commented: "Go Cotswolds has played an instrumental role in helping to put south Warwickshire and the Cotswolds on the map over the past decade. The longevity of their business - and the fact they are now attracting new audiences from as far afield as India - underlines the strength of our region's tourism offering."

To support the business' future growth, Go Cotswolds has recently secured £2,460 worth of funding from the Rural England Prosperity Fund following support from Stratford-on-Avon District Council.

Cllr George Cowcher, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio from Stratford-on-Avon District Council, added: "I'm delighted that the District Council has been able to support Go Cotswold with funding of £2,460 from the Rural England Prosperity Fund. The funding will go towards supporting their new two-day Cotswold Tour offer. The economies of our tourism trade have been hit hard over the last years and if they are to recover and thrive then they need investment and support. That's why grants such as this are so vital."

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 09/04/2024