Visit West kicks off 2024 with programme of business and travel trade activity
The start of 2024 has been busy one for Visit West, the Local Visitor Economy Partnership for the region. Last week, more than 230 businesses and partners attended the annual regional visitor economy conference for the west of England, a record number for the event taking place at Bristol’s Harbour Hotel and Spa. During the day, local businesses were given the chance to network and learn more from across the industry. As well as hearing from Kathryn Davis, Managing Director for Visit West on the company’s plans for the year ahead, attendees were given presentations from critical national partners including The Tourism Alliance, and Visit England, as well as local representatives including Babbasa, The National Trust, Bristol Zoological Society, We The Curious, and Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution.
Ahead of the conference, Visit West represented the region, its destinations, and businesses at Visit Britain’s ‘Showcase Britain 2024’ event in Greenwich, London, where more than 120 international buyers were welcomed at a networking event ahead of ‘Britain & Ireland Marketplace (BIM). BIM is an annual event held by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) with a full day of business appointments and networking with tourism suppliers and destinations across Britain.
The event was followed by educational visits to the Bath and Bristol region with trade buyers and media from Australia, New Zealand and the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council).
Jon Chamberlain, Head of Marketing for Visit West, said: “By demonstrating the wealth of brilliant things to do, places to stay, restaurants, retail, and connectivity in our region to international buyers, we increase the case for them to sell the Bath and Bristol area as more than a day trip - an overnight stay or base from which to explore the region and the wider UK. International visitors stay longer, spend more and this is a huge boost to the local visitor economy, supporting nearly 42,000 jobs, and worth more than £2bn in 2022.”
Further activity from Visit West this spring will include a ‘Discover Bath & Bristol’ event with UKInbound in March where UK based buyers from the international travel trade will meet with local tourism businesses in a morning of one-to-one meetings, as well educational visits to each city area. Also in March, working in partnership with Cotswolds Plus LVEP Visit West will be at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest international travel trade event, targeting the important German, Austrian and Swiss markets as well as the traditional leisure inbound markets, Visit West’s Convention Bureau, ‘Meet Bristol and Bath’ will be part of Visit Britain’s East Coast US Trade Mission developing incentive travel, associations and business events.