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									                    Gwasanaeth Adfywio / Regeneration Service

                    Datblygu a Busnes / Business and Development
                    Rheolwr Datblygu a Busnes / Business and Development Manager
                    Rob Dix, BA(Hons), MRTPI, MIED
                    Canolfan Fusnes Conwy, Lon y Gyffordd, CYFFORDD LLANDUDNO, LL31 9XX
                    Conwy Business Centre, Junction Way, LLANDUDNO JUNCTION, LL31 9XX

Mr Steve Webb                                                    Gofynnwch am / Please ask for: Rob Dix
Director, Development Strategy &                                  574506
Partnerships                                                           01492 574502
Visit Wales                                                      
Brunel House                                                     Ein Cyf / Our Ref:            RD/jmt
2 Fitzalan Road                                                  Eich Cyf / Your Ref:
Cardiff                                                          Dyddiad / Date:               04/02/2009
CF24 0UY

Dear Mr Webb

re Destination Marketing and Management in Wales - Consultation Paper

Following widespread discussion between officers and members with tourism
responsibilities we would make the following comments on the above paper.

Overall we find the proposals within the consultation paper refreshing and long overdue.
Conwy‟s experience with two Tourism Growth Areas has shown the importance of
destination marketing, development and management working together and in
partnership with all sectors of the business. Around the Strategic Growth Area we have
been able to build a strong partnership between public and private sector. Within the
Rural TGA the partnership has included a strong community sector with significant
benefits accruing to local communities as a result.

Turning to the specific questions asked we would like to make the following observations:

Section 3

1. What are your views on the criteria?

   We accept the principles of what is being suggested. We fully support the objective of
   working to improve the experience on the ground and have been working to do this
   ourselves but would welcome opportunities for more private sector engagement in this
   notion and generally in destination marketing. However, this should not be at the
   expense of the community sector who has an equally important contribution to make,
   particularly in rural areas. Such partnerships must be balanced, focussed and
   properly resourced so that all partners make a valid contribution. We would want to
   continue to support Visit Wales in developing the national brand. We welcome the
   last four criteria and would support them wholeheartedly. As stated earlier we
   strongly believe that marketing is far more than promotion. There is a clear need to
   rationalise the existing system to the benefit of the customer and also we need to
   ensure that all partners respond to changes in technology and communication. The
                                      Prif Switsfwrdd / Main Switchboard: 01492 574000

    role of print is clearly declining and is increasingly expensive to sustain. The evidence
    suggests that many area brochures are kept alive because entry costs are heavily
    subsidised, e.g. Snowdonia and Llandudno.

2. Should there be other criteria?

    We do not see the need for any additional criteria.

Section 4

3. What are your views on the criteria outlined above?

    We accept the principles proposed here the most important criteria being the
    strengthening of links between marketing and destination management. It is within
    section 4.5 that some of the key issues come to light and the future success of the
    paper‟s proposals hinges on how these are tackled.

       The critical role of local authorities.
       The need to raise appreciation and support for tourism not just within local
        authorities but a range of services provided by all three sectors.
       Appreciation of the size, range and make up of the private sector and the range of
        business support required.
       Being flexible about the structure so as to respond to the needs of the particular
       Having clarity about the role of any regional body.
       Simplifying the organisational structure for efficiency in use by customer and
       Being able to provide DMOs with resources sufficient for them to turn the
        principles into reality. For example „fostering community level initiatives‟ needs
        more than good words but also practical support mechanisms.

4. Should there be other criteria?

    Again we do not see the need for further criteria.

Section 5

5. What are your views on the criteria outlined above?

    The criteria are acceptable but we need to ensure that we build partnerships which
    are effective and have ownership of the issues. These partnerships must include the
    community sector and recognise the key role of local authorities. The partnerships will
    need to be properly resourced and have the „where with all‟ to take plans forward. As
    stated earlier it is crucial that the significance of tourism in the wider agenda is
    recognised by partners whilst at the same time seeing that it can also contribute to the
    problems faced by an area.

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6. Should there be other criteria?

    Again nothing to add.

Section 6

7. What do you think of the proposal to focus destination marketing and management at
   two levels – national and local?

    Within Wales proposals to focus destination marketing and management at national
    and local levels is acceptable. However there must be clear and regular
    communication between the two levels. To work properly there needs to be proper
    partnership at national level with recognition of the contribution to tourism by the
    actions of the various WAG departments and also meaningful engagement with the
    private sector at the national level.

8. What do you think of the proposal to establish Tourism Areas and Tourism Area

    We support the proposals for establishing Tourism Areas and Tourism Area
    Partnerships, as long as they are true partnerships, include community sector
    representation and are a two way process. We have to a certain extent realised this
    with our two TGAs already, although we recognise that the scale of what is envisaged
    here is greater.

    The roles suggested appear „stunted‟ compared to some of the issues raised earlier in
    the paper, particularly around business support and investment.

    The clustering of Local Authorities, etc. is sensible as the customer does not see the
    administrative boundary and indeed destinations such as Snowdonia, even if you only
    keep to its designated boundaries, crosses LA boundaries to include both Gwynedd
    and Conwy. The nature of the „clusters‟ or boundaries of the „destinations‟ have to be
    given careful consideration though as authorities such as Conwy could find
    themselves pulled in a number of directions and not have sufficient resources to
    participate fully in all clusters. We have seen this with the Wales Spatial plan.

    There is also concern about the proper marketing and management of areas which
    fall outside of destinations / TA‟s. Are there to be „fuzzy‟ boundaries such as those
    associated with the spatial plan to ensure complete coverage of Wales? Or are we to
    have another level of organisation to fill the gaps? Development of “fuzzy” boundaries
    runs the risk of diluting the regional destination too much.

9. What should be the role of the regional bodies (RTPs and RTCs) in destination
   marketing and management?

    If, as we suggest in 7 above, a strong national brand is created supported by
    partnership marketing and management structures, and properly resourced and

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    framed TAP‟s, one must question the need for a regional layer. The resources
    currently within the RTP‟s can be subsumed into the national layer and help
    strengthen it. However, it may be that there is a need to develop a clearly defined
    brand of North Wales, for example, at which level is the planning and coordination of
    product marketing justified. Equally, this may be a suitable vehicle for the delivery of
    marketing and management for those areas which fall outside of defined destinations.
    This would suggest that circumstances would vary from sub region to sub region, and
    therefore it would be best to allow clustering arrangements to develop in accordance
    with local circumstances as long as they abided by the same principles. It may be
    that, rather than North Wales, a NE and NW collaboration model reflecting the Spatial
    Planning areas would be more effective.

    As independent private companies it is difficult to see that we can dictate what the
    future of the RTC‟s is. However, to avoid complications it is important that they sign
    up to the principles of the proposals and start to carve a relevant „niche‟ for
    themselves, perhaps providing a range of services to the TAP‟s under SLAs or
    stronger contracts.

10. How should Tourism Areas be defined?

    We do not disagree with the idea of „key destinations‟. However, as discussed earlier
    this raises the question of what happens outside of those destinations. Destination
    and Tourism Area, for the benefit of this discussion, must be one of the same. The
    destinations must be strong and identifiable. Whilst a key destination such as
    Llandudno could include „sub areas‟ such as Conwy and Colwyn Bay, areas such as
    Hiraethog or the coast between Conwy and the Menai Straits is harder to deal with.

11.What are your views on the above marketing roles and responsibilities?

    Before the roles and responsibilities are finalised we think that there are two key
    questions which need to be answered. Firstly, how will Visit Wales undertake its direct
    marketing? Will there be private sector involvement? Secondly, a smarter web model
    needs to be developed, and we would question whether the Tourism Areas should be
    the focus of the website development. The examples of the Lakes, Scotland, Devon
    and Cornwall show that this should be driven and coordinated at a regional level. All
    Wales or North, South and Mid?

12.What are your views on the above destination management roles and responsibilities?

    Again we do not feel that sufficient emphasis is placed upon the need for the
    community sector to be suitably represented. A role which we believe is missing from
    the TAP‟s is that of promoting investment.

    The proposed charter needs to embrace the maintenance of relationships and the
    development of the partnerships over and above a statement of aspirations. Given
    the range of roles and responsibilities suggested the paper fails to recognise the

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    importance of the local authorities in leading and delivering much of the work. This
    needs to be clearly stated within the charter to avoid potential conflict.

To conclude then, Conwy supports the broad principles of the paper but would like to see
more thought given to:

       The contribution of the community sector.
       Geographical areas that fall outside the designated destinations.
       The potential of collaborative working and its possible pitfalls.
       Role of regional working.
       Strong partnership arrangements at the national level.

Yours sincerely

Rob Dix
Business & Development Manager

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