A fresh start for the visitor economy – call for Peterborough’s tourism, hospitality, and leisure businesses to shape new destination marketing plans for the city

Peterborough’s tourism sector and visitor economy could get a much needed boost as the city’s economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, plans to unite hospitality, leisure, and attractions under a new, formal group to power the city’s promotion as a visitor destination.

The move comes after the contract to manage the Visit Peterborough website and social media channels was transferred from Peterborough City Council to Opportunity Peterborough. A virtual team has been created with the Council’s tourism team to provide consistent experiences for visitors and businesses.

With responsibility for the city’s digital shop window for tourism, Opportunity Peterborough aims to create a paid membership structure similar to ones used by Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) like Visit York, Visit Norwich, Visit Liverpool, and London & Partners.

With a commercial model, members will fund promotional activity that can provides additional exposure and income for their business, puts Peterborough on the map as a visitor destination, drives footfall to the city, and builds consumer confidence.

Through similar schemes, DMOs have successfully raised their cities’ local, regional and global profile through targeted marketing campaigns, bidding for events, and developing working relationships with international tourism boards. They have also helped businesses adapt and develop their own offers through training and providing sector insight.

Opportunity Peterborough will hold four virtual workshops to discuss what a membership needs to offer Peterborough businesses to boost short term recovery and tackle long-term challenges. This will build on discussions held before the pandemic with attractions, members of the Tourism Focus Group, and the City Leadership Forum.

Each workshop aims to focus on a different sub-sector, however, hospitality businesses, attractions, venues, and leisure facilities are welcome to book onto any workshop depending on availability:

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, explains, “In 2019, tourism in the East of England generated £7.6 billion; needless to say, it’s a huge part of our local economy.

“With a paid structure, we could eventually replicate the success of DMOs like Visit York, Visit Nottingham and Visit Norwich. It’s a long-term strategy, but even small, incremental boosts to the city’s promotion could create some big changes on the ground.

“For instance, we could provide industry intelligence and training, develop advertising campaigns, even bring more corporate events to the city where we can convert business tourists into leisure visitors. We also want to change perceptions locally so people know just how much Peterborough has to offer.

“This is a really exciting opportunity and we’re looking forward to working with Peterborough’s hospitality and leisure businesses to market the city.”