16:12 Thursday 23 January 2014

Vital role of tourism is shown in new report

Written byMARK MCKAY

TOURISTS who flocked to South Derbyshire spent more than a third of a million pounds in the region, new figures show.

Visitors spent £338,196 in trips and overnight stays to the district and the National Forest in 2012.

The figures are included in a report from South Derbyshire District Council’s chief executive Frank McArdle (right), which is due to go before its environment and development committee.

According to the report, a visitor campaign drive led to 10 per cent of respondents taking a short break in the area and 34 per cent visited on a day trip.

Mr McArdle said: “This is a good conversion rate, particularly for day trip visitors which are normally no higher than 30 per cent.”

Last year, more than 40,000 visitor guides and 200,000 mini attraction guides were produced to advertise the National Forest.

In the report Mr McArdle also revealed the central role the National Forest can play in developing South Derbyshire as a viable tourist destination.

He said: “Through marketing the district as part of the wider National Forest and beyond, the area is able to appeal to a diverse range of visitors with a mix of attractions and accommodation that can cater for longer stays throughout the year.”

A 2013 study from the national tourism board Visit England predicted the nation’s tourism sector to outperform its economy in the coming years.

Mr McArdle added that, if true, this would pay dividends for the South Derbyshire economy.

He said: “In South Derbyshire, the development of the visitor economy is of particular value given its ability to create employment in rural communities, attracting visitors and so helping to sustain services such as village shops and pubs.”

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