Creating the first Destination Management Plan for the Visit West Area

Covering Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, the Visit West area is undeniably compelling as a visitor destination. It is one of variety and juxtaposition, spanning tradition, heritage and contemporary across two cities and four local authority areas. Our job as destination management planning consultants was to create the first regional DMP, bringing together the different key players and recognising that it can be more than the sum of its parts.

After a deep dive into the current visitor offer and identifying its strengths, gaps and opportunities for development, we looked at the way the Visit West area is presented in the national and international market place, to enable us to identify best prospect market segments and associated experience themes for regional growth. Via a combination of calls and six workshops – live and online, we listened carefully to the needs and asks of individuals and small groups of key stakeholders to understand their aspirations, priorities and the problems that needed to be solved.Β  As experienced destination management planning consultants we were very aware of the need to capitalise on what was happening in each of the four areas, avoid duplication, and identify common threads and synergies.

The outcome of our work was a shared Destination Management Plan for all those involved in tourism across the West of England – for Visit West as the accredited Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), for local authorities and the West of England Combined Authority, and for those providing tourism experiences and services from the private, public and third sectors. Launched in autumn 2023 the aim is that the Destination Management Plan will guide activity, focus efforts, influence investment – and make a demonstrable difference to the West’s visitor economy.

With the fundamental aim of encouraging longer stays, the DMP identified a bespoke market segment with the propensity to explore the region more fully and do more things, picked out three experiential themes with growth potential and gave clear recommendations on how to activate them, as well as giving specific actions needed to improve the sustainable and responsible management of the destination over the next five years.


(images courtesy of Visit West)

"we are delighted that the resulting plan feels special, and unique to us, our destinations, and businesses. This is a plan that is both challenging yet achievable and one that has a clear delivery model."
Kathryn Davies, Managing Director, Visit West