Efficiency Scrutiny Committee 19 January 2016 Tourism Business Support Service

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1 Efficiency Scrutiny Committee 19 January 2016 Tourism Business Support Service For Information Portfolio Holder(s) Enabling - Senior Leadership Team Contact: M Hamilton,Strategic Director 1. Purpose of Report 1.1 To provide information to Members on the Tourism Business Support service following changes made over recent years, plans for the future direction of the service and information about the economic importance of the visitor economy to West Dorset. 2. Introduction 2.1 This report sets out an overview of the importance of the tourism industry within a local to national context and provides details of the support provided to this employment sector by West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council (the Councils) through the delivery of the tourism business support service (i.e. excluding Visitor Services/Tourist Information Centres). Visitor Services is currently being reviewed as part of the Service Review programme. 2.2 The primary role of the visitor sevices (TIC) team is to welcome visitors to the area, to encourage return visits and to provide information to ensure that visitor spending reaches all businesses in the area. The business support function aims to work in partnership with local tourism businesses and organistions (private, public and voluntary sectors) to promote the area in order to derive visitor expenditure and to generally support the development and increase in quality of the local industry (comments on planning applications, securing external funding, encouraging inspection/accreditation schems, encouraging training, carrying out research, working in partnership with organisations such as Visit England and the Dorst Local Enterprise Partnership). 2.3 The work of the tourism service supports the economic priorities of the Corporate Plan, the emerging Western Dorset Growth Corridor Strategic Economic Plan, the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan, the LEP s Destination Management Organisation (DMO) and the 2012 Olympic Legacy actions.

2 3. Value of Tourism 3.1 The tourism sector provides substantial economic and cultural benefits to the communities of West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland. It is generally recognised that tourism is a part of the economy where the area can compete effectively because of its proximity to major population centres and ports/airports and the quality of the product on offer. In terms of creating employment for local people, it is performing well and has the potential to grow. 3.2 Visitors spend, annually, 329 million to the benefit of the West Dorset economy and 219 million to the benefit of the Weymouth and Portland economy. This sustains 16% and 17% of all employment respectively. 3.3 Key Tourism Facts:- West Dorset Weymouth & Portland 584,100 Staying visitor trips 459,000 2,800,200 Staying Visitor nights 1,861,800 5,104,000 Day visits 2,020,000 7,195 Estimated actual 5,091 employment 5,145 FTE employment 3,747 Source: South West Research Company - Value of Tourism outputs Tourism has a major influence on the success or failure of a large number of businesses particularly in the hospitality, catering, leisure, entertainment and retail sectors. The industry indirectly contributes significantly to the supply chains of other sectors that rely upon the income from the tourism sector spend as part of their business viability and success. Successful tourism businesses spend significant amounts supporting food and drink manufacture, repairs, maintenance and new build, transport and legal and accountancy practices. 3.5 The Councils derive a significant amount of direct income from the tourism sector through its trading operations and asset portfolio such as car parking, harbours, hotels / guest houses and beaches that in turn support the Councils service delivery. 3.6 Government Tourism Policy published by DCMS in 2011 recognises the economic value of tourism as One of the fastest and most efficient ways to deliver rapid economic growth. 3.7 The direct, indirect and induced effects of tourism contributed 161bn or 11.4 per cent of UK GDP to the UK economy in Tourism is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy. By 2025, it is forecast that it will account for 4.6 million jobs, or 13.2 per cent of all UK jobs.

3 3.9 The Gross Value Added (GVA) growth rate of the UK visitor economy is forecast to be 3.5 per cent per annum over the period 2010 to 2020 which is well ahead of the 2.9 per cent forecast for the economy as a whole. 4. Inward Investment 4.1 In more recent years West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland has witnessed significant capital investment into the tourism industry. This includes the Premier Inn as part of the Brewery Square development, the Merlin Jurassic Skyline tower and the Premier Inn at the Gateway Business Park, future developments at the funding stage including the multi million pound Jurassica and MEMO projects on Portland, both supported by Dorset LEP. A number of Holiday Parks such as Highlands End and Freshwater in West Dorset and the Waterside and Osmington parks in Weymouth / West Dorset continue to invest significantly in the quality of their product. This continuing investment goes some way to demonstrate the importance of the tourism sector, the confidence in continued growth and the high value placed on tourism by the private sector. Visitor expenditure helps to maintain the viability of local arts and sports centres, museums and local events so that they remain of benefit to local residents. This same principle applies to shops, post offices, cafes and restaurants, etc 5. Tourism Business Support Service 5.1 The tourism service is regularly reviewed in order to maintain modern and efficient service delivery. Examples over recent years include: Establishing the Visit Dorset Tourism Partnership (lead by West Dorset) in 2010 which includes the rural local authorities in Dorset. Bringing together the services provided by West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Councils. Development of the Visit Dorset website in 2010 now supporting over 1000 businesses and receiving in excess of 2.1 million visits per annum. This provides a more efficient and effective means of generating custom for our local tourism businesses than running one website for each district as was the case until A reduction of 1 full time post (4.5 to 3.5) agreed with Senior Management/Leadership Team in A reduction in expenditure at West Dorset of 40,000 agreed with Senior Management/Leadership Team in Reducing the costs of printed material. An improved focus on income generation to grow or maintain income in challenging times. 5.2 The work of the tourism team has focussed on maintaining the West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland identity whilst working and leading within a Dorset framework consisting of local authority tourism partners (Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council).

4 5.3 The Dorset framework has enabled a shared approach to resourcing projects, financing initiatives and participating in collective marketing campaigns that individually the Authorities would not traditionally be able to afford. 5.5 The work of the team is well recognised by key industry partners and, importantly, by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Visit England. 5.6 The primary work of the tourism business support service enhances the value of tourism to the local economy by attracting high spending visitors to the area through promotional activity, development of the tourism offer and working in partnership with local tourism businesses. 5.7 The success of the service can be measured against:- Business engagement, advice and support for the tourism industry across Dorset (approx.1000 businesses); Managing the tourism focus and priorities for both Councils under the shared services partnership; Establishment and continued delivery of a successful business model, that generates significant income to offset service costs; Support for the newly formed Dorset wide Destination Management Organisation (DMO), working closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This will include improved integration with Bournemouth and Poole; Managing a programme of marketing and promotional activities and the continued development of the visit-dorset website on behalf of the Visit Dorset Tourism Partnership; N.B: The web site records in excess of 2.1 million unique visits per year and is widely recognised as Dorset s official visitor website and is the key Dorset partner website for VisitEngland. Generating external support funding including Dorset Local Authorities (Dorset Web site, DMS, Marketing campaigns, research data etc.); Continuing to review the balance between the more traditional promotional work and web/digital based activity that has resulted in an increase of social media work and reducing the costs of the West Dorset Visitor Guide by changing the format to A5; Expertise and advice on tourism related matters (Planning applications and decisions); Support and development of tourism partnerships particularly in Weymouth and Portland and Sherborne; Continuing to support local tourism projects and partnerships e.g. Weymouth and Dorchester BIDs, Sherborne Tourism Forum, Bridport Trade Association, Holiday Parks Association etc; Support provided towards the Shire Hall development project and other voluntary sector development plans (Lyme Regis Museum, etc.).

5 6. Financial Information 6.1 The 2014/15 budget out-turn (excluding internal recharges):- Cost Code Income/Expenditure WPBC WDDC Tourism Development Expenditure 65, ,865 Income 1,000-80,675 Net Budget 64, ,190 Advertising Drums (WPBC Only) Expenditure 10,288 Income -43,350 Internal Recharges 0 Net Budget -33,062 Total Net Cost 31, ,190 N.B: WPBC no longer produces what was a profitable visitor guide where WDDC currently continues to do so; WPBC undertook significant reductions in marketing and promotional budgets in 2011; WDDC income is derived through a combined online and visitor guide package. 7. Future Service Opportunities & Challenges 7.1 Officers fully recognise the significant impact that the government funding reductions are having and of the need to reduce costs and or derive increased income through current or new initiatives. 7.2 Significant opportunities to increase income relate to the Visit Dorset web site and the destination management system. This service contract is currently out to tender. The costs associated with the contract are to be shared between the Dorset local authority tourism partners as this is the one web site presence and management system for all partners therefore generating mutual efficiencies. The current system allows on line accommodation booking (launching January 2016) which will produce a future 10% commission for each booking. As part of the new tender specification we are seeking the ability to increase the functionality to include bookings and sales for attractions, events, retail and table reservations thereby providing further scope to improve financial performance. 7.3 The delivery of tourism through Dorset-wide collaborative working between the Dorset local authorities, the private sector and VisitEngland should continue to be the future strategic direction of both Councils. This emphasis is essential to maintaining the competitiveness of the Dorset tourism industry with the larger UK destinations which in turn will generate a greater economic share of the domestic and international visitor market for West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.

6 7.4 With the development of the Dorset LEP Destination Management Organisation (DMO), the Councils should hold a strong prominent influence to strategically assist with the development of the economy in order to maintain and increase the economic benefit and employment that tourism supports and stimulates within the District and the Borough. 7.5 With the Councils tourism service having previously taken a lead within the Dorset Tourism framework, it is in a favourable position to derive LEP/ DMO funding to support the Councils continuing work within this service area. 7.6 The Councils have a significant opportunity to derive inward investment, generate a greater economic share of the domestic and international visitor market and create new employment opportunities in an industry that in recent years has grown, and is predicted to grow, faster than manufacturing, construction and retail. Report Author & Contact: Matt Ryan; Tourism & Events Manager and Nick Thornley; Head of Economy, Leisure & Tourism Telephone: or and

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