The tourism industry in the Peak District and Derbyshire is set for a significant boost after the area’s official tourist board secured a further £1.2million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) extending their current business support programme until 2022.
Following the success of the ‘Growing and Developing the Visitor Economy Within Derbyshire’ project (Phase 1), which ran from 2016 to 2019 and delivered £1.3million of business support to over 700 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire has obtained an extension of ERDF funding.
200 visitor economy businesses are expected to benefit from this phase of the project, which will be launched in the coming months and will run until March 2022.
Called ‘Delivering a World Class Visitor Economy Within Derbyshire’, the project aims to improve the quality and increase the profitability of visitor economy businesses in the area through a programme of business support workshops, networking opportunities and a series of small grants ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.
In delivering this project, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire will continue to be supported by Derbyshire County Council, the Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire Dales District Council, High Peak Borough Council and the University of Derby.
Key themes will include workforce development, extending the tourist season, international tourism, accessible tourism and green tourism – with the overall aim of supporting businesses in the visitor economy to grow in regional, national and international markets.
Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said:"Following the success of Phase 1 of our ‘Growing and Developing the Visitor Economy Within Derbyshire’ project, we are looking forward to working closely with our partners over the next three years to achieve more great benefits for the local economy in Phase 2.
“The Peak District and Derbyshire’s valuable tourism industry is worth over £2.15 billion, attracting 40.45 million visitors each year and supporting over 28,000 jobs.
“The aims of the project are to drive up the quality and profitability of visitor economy businesses in the area, make the most of emerging international opportunities, and support small to medium-sized businesses though initiatives specifically geared to create more prosperity in this valuable industry."
Councillor Tony King, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “Supporting local businesses to start, thrive and survive is one of our key priorities.
“This funding is enormously valuable and will help provide much needed, tailor-made business support to the tourism sector in Derbyshire. It will also support our wider efforts to create more jobs, encourage visitors to stay longer and maintain our county’s reputation as a national and international tourist destination.”
Brendan Moffett, Director of the University of Derby's Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism, said: “Tourism is an essential part of the local economy and this valuable ERDF funding will ensure that tourism businesses in the Peak District and Derbyshire can continue to grow and thrive.
“Together with the announcement of the Tourism Sector Deal in June, which identified tourism as a leading industry for the Government’s future economic planning, it signals a bright future ahead for the tourism industry.”