Tourism Strategy Final Consultation
The Final Draft Strategy V2.2 2017-2022 is now available. The consultation of the new strategy for the Shropshire Hills Destination was launched at Aston-on-Clun. Some interesting presentations were made, some great cakes, and a useful workshop allowing people present to prioritise some of the suggestions.
Please do read the draft strategy and feed any comments back as it is hoped to approve the final document on 12 December at the Destination Partnership meeting.
Shropshire Hills Business Survey Responses 2017
Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to the businesses survey. The results, outlined below will be used to inform the new Shropshire Hills Sustainable Tourism Strategy. This will be published for consultation at the end of October.
The survey gathered 66 out of 69 responses from businesses in and near the Shropshire Hills. Additional responses came from an arts organisation, local councillor and council department.
For the purpose of the survey, it was estimated that if there are 350 tourism businesses operating in the Shropshire Hills, 65 responses would be considered a reasonably representative sample.
What we asked and what you said…
Q1. Type of businesses?
Most of the respondents were from self-catering business (28%) The next largest group was B&B/Guest Houses (15%) and Activity Operators (15%). Visitor attractions made up 12% of the survey. (Total 69 respondents)
Q2. Business location?
The largest group of businesses to answer the questionnaire was Ludlow (19%). There were similar numbers of respondents from Church Stretton (17%) and Bishop’s Castle 16%). Together they represent the majority of businesses. A handful of businesses responded from outside the Shropshire Hills area (Leominster, Oswestry & Shrewsbury).
Q3. Factors adversely affecting businesses at present?
1. Number of visitors/customers
Over 70 % of businesses answered ‘A lot’ or ‘Quite a lot’ to this question
2. Level of available support
Most businesses (64%) answered ‘Not Much’ or ‘Not at All’ to this question
3. Availability of financial capital
Over 55% of businesses stated that this did not affect them
4. Availability of suitable staff
19% of businesses stated that this affected them ‘Quite A lot’. The majority were not affected by suitable staff availability.
5. Increased operating costs
Over 62% of businesses stated that operating costs affected them ‘A Lot’ or ‘Quite a Lot’
6. Planning decisions of new tourism development
48% of business stated that this affected them either ‘A Lot’ (10%) or ‘Quite a Lot’ (28%). 13% stated that planning decisions were not relevant.
7. Regulation on business
43% of businesses stated ‘Not Much’ to how much they were affected by regulation. 46% stated that they were affected either ‘A Lot’ (15%) of Quite a Lot (31%).
Of businesses that stated ‘Other’ (10%) commented on the weather, lack of quality accommodation and business rates as being issues for them.
Q4 Destination Management Priorities:
‘Based on current performance the priorities for the Shropshire Hills & Ludlow Destinations.’
Attracting visitors to the area in general scored highest. The second priority attracting visitors at less busy times of the year. Providing basic visitor services was the third priority.
Managing visitor pressure was the least important priority recorded.
Q5 Marketing & information provision priorities:
Developing the identity, image and branding for the area was the number one priority for businesses. This was closely followed by providing information about what to see and do in the area and managing promotional campaigns for the area.
Developing new destination print was seen as the least important of the priorities listed.
Q6 Product development and improving quality priorities:
The promotion of walking and outdoor activities was given the highest priority. The next three priorities were: Upkeep and appearance of market towns, Interpretation/promotion of the area’s heritage and culture and finally the range and quality of visitor attractions.
Although Promotion of Arts and Crafts scored least overall, more than a quarter of businesses scored this as important to them.
Q7 Business support, advice and training priorities:
Research into visitors and visitor trends and support from tourism bodies/associations were ranked as most important. Communication of the area’s tourism policies and activities was also seen as important.
Q8 The two most important challenges facing tourism in the Shropshire Hills & Ludlow areas?
Responses can be summarised as follows:
There were concerns voiced about rising costs, austerity measures and the impact of Brexit. Reduced resources for the county’s tourism industry was also recognised as a concern.
Marketing and promotion
The largest group of comments are concerning how the area is marketed, awareness of the area and coordination of promotion. The limited resources for promotion and strength of competition was also noted.
The loss of investment at a county level was recognised. This was seen to be adding to a lack of coordination between destination managers and service providers.
Q9 Additional comments?
The comments collected can be summarised as follows:
The need for more coordinated marketing and better promotion of the area
A shortage of seasonal staff
The poor connectivity/phone signal/broadband
Car pressure and poor public transport provision
The lack of recognition of the value of tourism and need for industry support at a county level
We would like to know more about how planning and business regulations have affected individual businesses. If you’d like to tell us more, please get in touch.
Sustainable Tourism Officer
Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership
firstname.lastname@example.org (01743 254 744)