North Somerset Council – tourism and the economy

T4 On The Beach

For its monthly column, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team discuss issues related to the region. For December it assesses tourism and its impact on the North Somerset economy.

Research commissioned by North Somerset Council showed that in 2011 the visitor economy brought £403.5miilion into North Somerset, over 7.3million visitors and supported 5,735 tourism-related FTE jobs.

Tourism continues to make a valuable contribution to the local economy

Despite the adverse weather this summer Weston seafront continued to be a popular destination for visitors and locals.

T4 sell-out

Once again T4 on the Beach was a sell-out with 50,000 people attending, crowds in excess of 60,000 came to the Grand Pier’s air days, headlined by the Red Arrows, and the Illuminated carnival in November attracted an audience of over 50,000.

‘Made in north somerset’

Celebrating local products the 2012 ‘Made in north somerset’ festival featured 33 events and involved 62 North Somerset food, drink, art and craft businesses over three weeks.

Hundreds of people attended events including a North Somerset Arts exhibition, ice-cream tasting, farm and brewery tours, and a hugely popular market at the Tyntesfield Estate.

Film tourism

Film tourism is recognised as a growing market and North Somerset Council is gaining a reputation as a film friendly local authority, handling some 46 filming enquiries so far this year.

As well as free publicity filming also brings economic benefits. In 2011 the Sky TV series, The Café, brought over an estimated £100,000 into the local economy through purchasing of goods and services.

This year a major new ITV series ‘Broadchurch’, is filming in the district August to December and a second series of The Café was filmed in Weston in the summer.

Economic downturn

And despite the economic downturn there is strong commercial interest in developing tourism and leisure sites across North Somerset. New hotels in Weston, Clevedon and Portishead are proposed.

Planning applications have been approved for a new garden centre at Puxton Park family attraction, a new café and additional facilities for visitors at Clevedon Pier and a new visitor centre for Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Regeneration of Weston

The regeneration of Weston continues following the £29 million seafront enhancements. The last 12 months have seen further activity to improve Weston town centre and seafront including:

• completion of new 110 bed Premier Inn with associated Brewers Fayre pub/restaurant, as phase one of the Dolphin Square redevelopment,
• completion of 380 space multi story car park as phase two.
• £300,000 upgrading of the High St between Regent St and Oxford St, and creation of events space in the Town Square.
• opening of 2 new restaurants on the seafront Tutto’s and Cove West.
• a successful Business Improvement District scheme by the Town Centre Partnership.
• renewal of town centre map signage and associated fingerposts
• new on street pay and display parking aiming to increase turnover of town centre parking spaces and hence footfall to shops and other facilities.

There continues to be a wide variety of support and help given to the North Somerset Tourism industry from council services and there is a strong willingness by all to work together on a range of projects and programmes that will provide further support to tourism and leisure businesses over the coming years.

For more information please contact Ursula James on 01934 427 295