First published Friday, June 14, 2013
Tuesday June 11th 2013 saw the official launch of the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership Destination Management Plan – something of a milestone for the the tourism industry in Pembrokeshire, and the culmination of a number of years work by various organisations.
Firstly, an introduction to the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership. At the core of the Partnership were initially three bodies – Pembrokeshire Tourism, Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. It is hoped that these three partners will shortly be joined by PLANED. These organisations each have a direct involvement with the tourism industry in the county, and each have a role to play in the delivery and or support of that industry. Supported by the South West Wales Tourism Partnership, over the last few years, the partners have worked together to draw up and identify a ‘vision’ for the industry in the county, which has been presented in the Management Plan. From this, the next stage is the generation of an action plan, something that will invite input and collaboration from more stakeholders throughout the county, stretching from larger bodies like the Port of Milford Haven, CADW and The National Trust, through to those businesses that are ultimately the front line of the industry.
So, why have a Destination Management Plan? We are extremely fortunate in Pembrokeshire in that we have superb scenery, coastline, natural attractions, and a broad range of accommodation provision, attractions, activities and more that encourage visitors to come here, and indeed return here (the latest visitor survey indicated that 93% of those interviewed intended to return within the next 5 years). However in order to both maximise and preserve what makes Pembrokeshire special, it’s vital to have a sensible and collaborative Management Plan.
The tourism industry worldwide is an ever changing place. Here in Pembrokeshire the industry has developed and evolved and continues to do so as new businesses start up, existing ones invest and grow, and indeed some businesses close. The demands and expectations of the consumer are also more diverse, and the industry has to react to that, whilst also looking to find ways to get ahead of the game.
As part of the launch event, we were fortunate to have Simon Calder as the keynote speaker. As travel writer for The Independent, and known as the ‘The man who pays his way’ (he pays for his own travel and accommodation) he has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the tourism and travel industry, and is well placed to speak on the importance of taking a good long look at the sector to make sure it works. When asked what he would see as being the most important thing for the future of the industry in Pembrokeshire, his answer was simple – that it was about working in partnership. Across South West Wales, Pembrokeshire leads the way for demonstrating a commitment to public/private sector partnership working.
As such, the Plan has been launched! As with many such plans, strategy documents and so on, there is always going to be the question ‘What happens now?’ This is where you come in. The partners continue to work together to outline the actions required to deliver the plan, however for this to be truly effective we want the trade to be part of it. The outline ‘idea’ essentially is that the core group identify the things they need to do to move the industry forward, based on what the industry tells it. Whether you chose to get involved by echoing the marketing plan monthly themes (a suggested outline of this can be seen below – it’s still ‘in progress’) or supplying content for blogs and newsletters, there will be something you can do.
Pembrokeshire is an amazing location, and a truly outstanding destination. Each and every one of us has the ability and opportunity to contribute to that by getting involved with the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership, and the Management Plan. What are you waiting for?