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How Opportunity Peterborough plans to develop city as visitor destination

Having taken over responsibility for Peterborough's 'digital shop window' for tourism, Opportunity Peterborough is planning to unite the city's hospitality, leisure and attractions to encourage visitors.
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Workshops focusing on hospitality, leisure, culture and retail are being held by Opportunity Peterborough next week

The plan for Peterborough's tourism sector and visitor economy to get a boost is in motion, with Opportunity Peterborough taking over the contract to manage the Visit Peterborough website and social media channels. A team has been created to work alongside the council's tourism team to provide consistent experiences for visitors and businesses.

Opportunity Peterborough's goal is to create a paid membership structure similar to ones used by Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) such as Visit York, Visit Norwich and Visit Liverpool.

As part of the proposed model, members - made up of local hospitality businesses, venues, leisure facilities and attractions - will fund promotional material that could provide additional exposure and income for themselves, as well as driving footfall to the city.

Similar DMO schemes have successfully raised their cities' local, regional and global profile through bidding for events and developing relationships with international tourism boards.

To discuss the strategy, four virtual workshops are being held to talk with businesses about what membership would need to offer to boost short-term recovery and tackle long-term challenges. This will build on discussions held prior to 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, but hospitality businesses, attractions, venues, and leisure facilities are welcome to book onto any workshop depending on availability:

  • Tuesday June 15 from 11am – 12.30pm – hotels and venues
  • Wednesday June 16 from 1pm – 2.30pm – leisure and attractions
  • Thursday June 17 from 10am – 11.30am – culture and heritage
  • Thursday June 17 from 12pm – 1.30pm – restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, and clubs, independent retailers

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, explained: "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."