Tourism and economic development

A thriving and sustainable visitor economy has a far-reaching impact on the economic and social wellbeing of local people, businesses and the environment. It is an integral part of creating and maintaining a sense of place.

These case studies provide a brief overview of how tourism and the visitor economy are positioned in a representative range of local authorities.

Some of those common approaches include:

  • establishing and sustaining effective working partnerships that can shape and influence decisions
  • engaging with the local community
  • securing corporate and political support
  • embedding tourism and the visitor economy in place making, place marketing and place management
  • regularly collecting and using a range of statistics to demonstrate the value of tourism and the visitor economy.

Each local authority is a unique and complex blend of politics, place and personality. Approaches need to be tailored to suit local circumstances and opportunities. These case studies show that:

  • it takes time to achieve change and get recognition for the visitor economy
  • the traditional approach, concentrating on producing brochures, operating tourist information centres (TICs) and talking to businesses, is no longer relevant
  • tourism and the visitor economy must embrace new and emerging corporate management systems
  • people and relationships rather than policies are the key to making a difference
  • it helps if there is a strong ‘champion' for tourism at the decision-making
  • tourism is best located in departments where there is mutual synergy and energy and should not be seen as a separate activity
  • things seem to work better where there is a clear corporate ethic to deliver comprehensive joined-up services that make a difference to the place
  • informal networking is as important as more formal partnership arrangements in achieving results.

These case studies were developed by the IDeA (now Local Government Improvement and Development) in partnership with VisitEngland.

VisitEngland website

In association with:


23 December 2014

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