Tourism firms going all out to put county on the world map

Tourism businesses from across Bedfordshire are ramping up efforts to make the county a top destination.

Sunday, 1st December 2013, 7:00 am
Glyn Jones of Luton Airport speaking at an Experience Bedfordshire meeting at Luton Hoo. Pic: AC Photography www.acpclick.com

A tourism partnership called Experience Bedfordshire reckons the county could receive a huge boost by firms working together.

A website at www.experiencebedfordshire.co.uk has been created to become a one-stop shop for community groups to highlight their events as well as provide a focus for hotels like Luton Hoo, destinations like Whipsnade Zoo and sporting occasions.

Experience Bedfordshire’s outgoing chairman, David Timmis told a members’ event at Warren Weir near Luton Hoo hotel, that there is “huge potential for growth” in tourism and events.

Figures from Central Bedfordshire Council quoted at the meeting on November 19, suggest visitors spend aound £264million in the area’s economy every year and 14,035 jobs depend on it.

Viviane Vayssieres, the organisation’s chief executive, said one of the major issues was making sure tourism businesses had access to people with the right skills.

Hundreds of jobs are currently up for grabs at the new Center Parcs near Woburn and courses have been held by Central Bedfordshire College aimed at giving young people basic skills needed to apply.

Mrs Vassieres said she was sure that the Rugby World Cup in 2015 would be good for the county.

Experience Bedfordshire is talking to tour and coach operators about bringing people in.

They believe next year could be big for weddings and there are plans to take advantage of items being Grown In and Made In Bedfordshire, including selling items on the site.

Mr Timmis said plans to bring in more international visitors to the county was a “percentage game” but that there is a “lot of interest in the county” and “the signs are positive.”

Luton Airport managing director Glyn Jones said £100million plans to expand capacity would lead to more people coming to the area.