Destination ups its game with post-flood recovery programme this Spring

Press Release: 08/04/2014

Visit Winchester Logo

Winchester City Council’s destination management team has been working on a series of campaigns to ensure the district’s profile is raised over the critical Spring period.

A series of national campaigns is already underway with VisitEngland, the national tourism body that promotes destinations in the UK to domestic tourists.

A ‘spot on breaks for Spring’ promotion featuring hotels and attractions in Winchester appeared in the Telegraph last weekend. The campaign showcases areas hit by the worst of the flooding crisis.

Then in early May the Evening Standard, Independent and i magazine are due to publish details of ‘Gruesome Getaways’ for Winchester and other heritage destinations themed around the rich and sometimes gory history of England that appeals to families and history buffs.

The destination’s cricketing history has also earned Winchester a coveted place in the 60 final places from over 1000 destinations’ entries in the England’s Hall of Fame social media campaign. Members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite experience at www.englandshallsoffame.com and the final selection will become part of a major exhibition at London’s Southbank.

Across the county Hampshire County Council has made sure that the ‘Big Theme’ this year is 1914, and Winchester plays a key role in encouraging people to learn more about World War One by visiting the ‘Soldier’s Journey’ exhibition and another telling the story of the trench coat at Winchester Discovery Centre plus an exhibition in the Great Hall.

A printed events programme dedicated to the commemoration of the outbreak of war, Winchester’s Story, will be published by 17 April by Winchester City Council working with Winchester’s Military Museums, Winchester College, Winchester Cathedral, Winchester Theatre Royal and other partners. And to offer added value for visitors attending the events, a military trail leaflet tracing the history of the district from the Iron Age to the Nuclear Age will be released at the same time.

To encourage people to walk and cycle from the South Park & Ride when visiting the city, a new Viaduct Way leaflet has been produced, outlining the National Cycle Route NC23 route restored by Winchester City Council working with Hampshire County Council, Sustrans and the Fieldfare LEADER funding programme.

The route has been enhanced with interpretative work by local artist Nicola Henshaw working with local communities and this leaflet, also due for publication at Easter, maps the route and outlines the history of the viaduct and railway line and its restoration.

The latest Explorer Map will also be released on 17 April. Visitors to the district are encouraged to follow a walk around the city centre attractions, visit those further afield and take advantage of special offers and Hampshire Hospitality Award-winning eateries as part of the experience.

The Winchester Bunny Hop produced by Winchester BID will also be distributed from Winchester Tourist Information Centre – the popular free trail invites families to take a city centre trail of children-friendly retailers, find clues on egg cards and decode a puzzle from the letters to win an Easter treat at Winchester Discover Centre.

And finally 30,000 flyers publicising Festivals in Winchester have been commissioned by Winchester City Council on behalf of the Festivals in Winchester group. Distributed by Winchester BID, these summarise the key dates in the festival season with calendar reminders and website addresses for large scale events such as the Writers’ Festival, Winchester Festival and Hat Fair and also up-and-coming festivals such as the Winchester Comedy Festival and Winchester Film Festival.

By mid-May the Council’s tourism website www.visitwinchester.co.uk will also have a new look and improved functionality that will improve the visibility of the events scene in the local area. The publications will all be downloadable for free from the site.

Cllr Robert Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity, said:

Winchester is a very vibrant destination and we pride ourselves here for the quality of our events and also the efforts that the Visit Winchester and Heart of Hampshire Destination Management team go to ensure that locals and visitors can access the very best of the area in terms of leisure opportunities.

Since the Destination Management Partnership was founded in 2011, we have seen a sea-change in the way tourism is managed – with greater investment and input from the private sector and improved communications between local authorities and agencies behind the scenes. Our campaigns are more joined up and take place over a broader geographical footprint which is more cost effective and also better for the visitor, to whom political boundaries are irrelevant.

The good work happening locally has been picked up by VisitEngland since James Berresford, Chief Executive visited us last summer to open our tourism conference. It is great to see an increasing number of campaigns that loop this destination into the national efforts to promote domestic tourism.