Plans to make the Cotswolds more tourist-friendly

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Plans to make the Cotswolds more tourist-friendly (pictured: Upper Slaughter) Plans to make the Cotswolds more tourist-friendly (pictured: Upper Slaughter)

A NEW organisation to boost tourism in the Cotswolds is to be set up.

A partnership will be formed to look at issues ranging from the lack of low cost holiday accommodation to the poor public transport in the district.

At a Cotswold Conservation Board meeting on April 24, committee members said it was great news that a new partnership would be created to manage and strengthen tourism in the Cotswolds by April 2015.

The steering group for the project is chaired by the Cotswold Chef Rob Rees with representatives from Cotswold District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, GFirst and the private sector.

The Cotswolds is a popular tourist destination. Almost 11.7 million people visited Gloucestershire, not including the Forest of Dean, in 2010 bringing in more than £740m.

CCB wants to increase these figures and tackle what it perceives as the weaker sides of tourism in the area, such as limited mobile phone and WIFI coverage and a lack of parking in popular towns.

Joint author of the plan Nicola Greaves said: “The importance of the Cotswolds to the rest of the country is recognised in Visit England’s strategic framework for tourism 2010-2020 which refers to the Cotswolds as ‘one of England’s long established and world renowned “attract” brands, which can help to attract visitors and encourage them to travel and spend more widely in the country as a whole.”

However, she said despite the size of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the CCB has limited resources to promote tourism.In 2013 the responsibility for tourism in Gloucestershire transferred from Gloucestershire County Council to GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership but in April 2015 will establish a new partnership with an unknown group.

“This is good news for the board,” said Committee member Richard Wakeford said the new partnership in place would be good news for the area.

“Getting a single destination management plan goes back two years," he said. "Work can now start."

The plan will be finalised and published by the end of May, with the new partnership to lead tourism being launched in April 2015.

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