Despite the 'teething troubles' experienced, the restored Midland Hotel was an apt location for an event which explored the regeneration of resorts and the revitalisation of tourism in general.
Richard Simmons, Chief Executive of CABE, talked about the aim of 'Sea Change' initiative and the £45m he had 'in his back pocket' to spend on resort regeneration. Kurt Jansen, of the Tourism Alliance, followed with information about measuring the economic impact of tourism. He said that tourism generates £86.5bn per annum but also had added benefits. Peter Marsden, Head of World Heritage at DCMS, explained the need to review the UK Tentative List and the costs and benefits of World Heritage Site Status. Stuart Barrow of VisitBritain, talked about 'quality and quirkiness'; uniform national standards are vital to marketing but it is also vital to emphasise your USPs, PoDs and ESP!
Phil Reddy of North West Development Agency said that the aim of the Agency was to increase competitive awareness, which was linked to knowledge of what consumers are seeking, which would inform decisions on the retail, cultural and other experiential components that drive consumer choice.
Jim Trotman & Andrew Dobson of Lancaster City Council explained the changes which had taken place in the town in order to improve its economic and social well being and its aspirations for tourism within the wider setting of the natural and cultural heritage. Peter Middleton, of L&R Consulting Solutions talked about seven community led heritage regeneration projects including the Winter Gardens in Morecambe which had at one time played a significant part in the town attraction for residents and visitors and the current project which was the result of a 20 year campaign to restore the building.
Delegates enjoyed guided walking tours to illustrate the local case studies and discussions which included the impact of tourism on residents, the role of the coaching industry, the importance of strong leadership, embracing the changes in tourism and the importance of 'place'.
Chair, Brian Human, made some concluding remarks:
- the importance of the role of Champions for projects;
- the hard costs and soft benefits which needed to be considered in the decision making process;
- high quality in all aspects must the goal;
- celebrate the extra-ordinary - treasure what you have and share it;
- places are for people, whether they are residents or visitors.
He thanked everyone who had contributed to the conference, especially NWDA for their support and Lancaster City Council for their invitation.
See the speakers power point presentations.