Launch of Marketing Cheshire is a ‘sensible’ move

Edward Pysden, chairman of Visit Chester & Cheshire, has described the launch a new tourism body for Cheshire and Warrington as a "sensible and effective solution in the current funding landscape".

From April this year, Visit Chester & Cheshire, the tourism body for Cheshire and Warrington, will fundamentally reshape its role as it takes on a much wider remit.

Visit Chester & Cheshire will become a new umbrella organisation, known as Marketing Cheshire, and be responsible for place marketing and promotion, as well as traditional visitor economy support.

Pysden, who is also a partner at law firm Eversheds LLP, added: "Place marketing, tourism and promotion are intrinsically linked. Through the new organisation, we can take a much more focused and integrated approach."

The organisation will switch from a reliance on public sector funding, with the demise of the regional development agencies, onto a revenue model based on private sector support from members and commercial partners, along with more limited public sector funding that has been provided through an approach by all three of the county's local authorities to support the transitional process.

Cheshire and Warrington's newly-formed local enterprise partnership, in partnership with the three local authorities, have been instrumental in setting up Marketing Cheshire.

Christine Gaskell, the recently announced chairman of the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, described the formation of Marketing Cheshire as a "bold and innovative step forward".

The new organisation will work closely with local authority partners and the LEP board as a key part of its wider role.

Marketing Cheshire will be the overall corporate brand, while Visit Cheshire & Visit Chester will be retained as consumer-facing brands. Two new brands, Invest in Cheshire and Live in Cheshire, will also be launched.

Chris Brown, chief executive of Visit Cheshire & Visit Chester, said: "We will still retain our tourism focus, but will become more of a conduit for the broader place marketing of the sub-region. There's an opportunity to iron out some duplications that had existed previously. Our success will be completely results-driven and we know we're building from a strong and solid base from the work we have done in the tourism sector."

Visit Cheshire & Visit Chester said Cheshire and Warrington's visitor economy is currently valued at over £1.78bn and supports 27,041 jobs – accounting for 15% of all employment locally.

Last year, it said visitor numbers rose by 150,000 and further increases are forecast for this year. Tourism bosses aim to double visitor spending across Cheshire and Warrington to £3 billion within 10 years.

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