Festive greetings from Tourism Matters
Welcome to our latest newsletter.
Below you’ll find news and information that should prove informative and useful to anyone involved in our local tourism and visitor economy. Please use the links and contacts to find out more and feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think might find it of interest.
If you would like to make any suggestions about the kind of information you would like to see here, please let us know. There are contact details at the end of this newsletter.
I’d like to wish you my very best seasonal greetings and look forward to meeting many of you at the Tourism Conference next March.
Brown Signs bring many benefits to local tourism. Following on from the successful installation of Brown Signs for Epping Ongar Railway, we are looking at creating an audit of existing brown signage across the district and would also welcome local businesses views on where additional Brown Signs could be beneficial. Anyone with a view on this is invited to contact the Tourism Development Manager, Quentin Buller, with their proposals. The scheme is administered by Visit Essex and to stand any chance of success, requests for these signs have to comply with the Brown Signs policy so please read this before making a case for additional signs.
Having closed for a £1.64 million refurbishment in 2013, the new enlarged Epping Forest District Museum is on track to reopen early in 2016. The existing museum was housed in a period building going back to the Tudor period, which has now been extended into the first floor above the adjacent library allowing for a much expanded space with full accessibility via new stairs and lift. Along with new galleries and a new entrance utilising the original front door onto Sun Street, the museum will have a dedicated community and education space. The core gallery will feature objects from the collection and give visitors the opportunity to see behind the scene into the stores and people at work caring for the collection.To follow the progress check out the Facebook page and Blog.
|George Hart handing out t shirts in Chandpur, Bangladesh||Epping and the Tour de France finds new fans in Bangladesh
Promoting Le Tour through Epping and the Chairman’s charity cycle ride last year, these t shirts proved very popular and even after a reprint very few were left over. However those that were have found a new home having been distributed to residents of Chandpur in Bangladesh. The picture shows children now proudly advertising our district together with George Hart whose efforts, supported by Cllr. Tony Boyce, made this possible. The journey to Chanpur involved a forty five minute taxi ride from Dhaka airport to Sadraghat ferry terminal, then a four hour ferry to Chandpur to distribute the shirts. George then took a midnight departure from Chandpur in a first class cabin on one of the Rocket paddle steamers (built 1929) which he describes as “a colonial experience”.
|Tony Boyce with Lance Bourne from the Royal Gunpowder Mills, George Kieffer and Quentin Buller||Epping Forest Tourism Conference 4th March 2016
The date has now been set for next year’s tourism conference at the Waltham Abbey Marriott Hotel. The date is Friday 4th March 9.00am for a 9.30am start. To book your free place click here. The 2015 conference was extremely well attended with all delegates finding it both informative and useful – especially the networking which resulted in a number of business deals being done. The line up for next year’s conference is still being finalised but will follow on from last year’s success. As more tourism businesses are starting up, it is hoped we will pass the 100 delegate mark making the networking and workshops even more representative of all that’s happening in and around our district.
|Michael Veasey of Eastern Plateau explaining their forthcoming funding opportunities, and how to apply, at our 2015 Tourism Conference||Eastern Plateau funding reminder
Eastern Plateau has launched its new funding programme for rural businesses. Small businesses, farmers, foresters and community groups from the rural areas of Epping Forest, East Herts, North Herts and Uttlesford will soon be able to access £1.8 million of funding secured through Defra and the EU. The aim of the funding is to create jobs and promote business growth in rural areas. It will focus on projects covering farm productivity, rural tourism, the provision of rural services, culture and heritage forest/woodland productivity and small business growth. For more information visit the Eastern Plateau website or contact the programme team:
Paul Pullin, Economic Development Manager, East Herts Council Tel: 01992 531606
Kari Hall, Programme Manager, RDPE – Eastern Plateau Tel: 07740 478660
|The Bringing together the attractions along the Lee Valley. For more information contact Quentin Buller.||Tourism without borders
Tourists visit attractions and areas rather than districts or counties and so are rarely aware when they cross administrative boundaries. With this in mind, cross border work has been taking place with counterparts in Broxbourne and the Lee Valley looking at joint opportunities to promote the area as a destination offering a combination of leisure, adventure, history and culture within a beautiful rural location right on the doorstep of London. Initial work has looked at building awareness of the cross border offers and a workshop has brought together businesses and stakeholders from in and around the area. Everyone involved has expressed enthusiasm for closer working, building joint opportunities to attract a greater range of visitors and extending the duration and scope of existing visits. Considering, for example, the number of people who visit the White Water Centre without a thought for the services and attractions offered in the surrounding area, there is a lot of scope for building the area’s visitor economy.
The visiteppingforest.org website continues to attract new visitors with an average of 5,500 per month. New tourism-related businesses also continue to request listings on the places to eat, drink and stay pages and are always delighted to discover this service is free. The number of returning customers remains steady with the what’s on listings being a popular destination. Plans are in hand to launch a new site which will be better enabled for smart phones and tablets.
|New display stand maps the district’s attractions
An order has been placed for a disply stand to be used at events. Measuring around two and a half metres in length, it features a map of the district demonstrating that we are more than just a forest and shows all the towns and villages to explore and the attractions they contain. It will see its first major outing at Excursions 2015, the premier Group Travel exhibition held at Alexander Palace early next year. It will also be availble for use at other suitable shows and events and it is hoped it will spend more of its time out of its storage container than in!
|Free business support
BEST Growth Hub provide a free support service for Essex businesses looking to start up or grow. Their Business Navigators will be happy to discuss your business needs and can advise about grants or loans, help you to expand your business knowledge and expertise and update you with the latest support opportunities in your area. Their website contains free support listings, a grants and finance search, business events listing, news and current information and a procurement portal for contract opportunities. All these services are fully funded for Essex businesses. Speak to one of their Business Navigators on 01702 417765, email them or visit their website to register your details
|Tourism growth continues as we out-perform our region
Figures released at the end of September show 2014 was a positive year for tourism in the Epping Forest District with increases across the board. A total of 3,417,200 people visited the district, a 5.2% increase on the previous year. Total visitor spend was also up to just under £200,000,000 and a 6.6% increase in those staying overnight was more than matched by their big spending showing a 12% increase. 3,480 are now employed in tourism-related jobs in the district, an increase of 2.2% over the previous year, and this accounts for 7.4% of all employment. When it comes to regional tourism performance, Epping Forest District has outperformed the Eastern Region overall which enjoyed a 1% increase in overnight trips compared with our 6.6%, a 1% decrease in people visiting compared with our 5.2% increase and a 5% decrease in overall value compared with a 2.4% increase in our district.
The 150th Anniversary Year has seen some substantial growth in key areas of the business – particularly in relation to the Halloween and Santa Specials events. For these events the Railway attracts significant numbers of passengers from both within and outside the Epping Forest Area. Other highlights for the year include a visit by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council in April, Cllr Boyce to help us celebrate our 150th Anniversary, the extension of the line towards Epping and our very popular series of evening dining trains which sold out very quickly. The Epping Ongar Railway is proving itself to be an important attraction in the Epping Forest area and is looking to increase the passenger numbers next year once again.
|Chairman Del Goddard and Managing Director Kulvinder Sihota at launch||Vibrant Partnerships Launch
Vibrant Partnerships, a not-for-profit company, will manage former Olympic venues including the Lee Valley White Water Centre on behalf of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Trustees have pledged to maximise usage of the former Olympic venues and other facilities, including Dobbs Weir Caravan Park and the Park Farms in Waltham Abbey. Chairman, Del Goddard said “It’s a new image, a new way forward and a new way of doing things.” Mrs Sihota added: “It is about positive change to create visitor destinations. We know we can’t do this on our own.” The trust aims to work closely with community groups, Broxbourne and Epping Forest Councils and nearby attractions such as the Royal Gunpowder Mills.
|One Shops Local update
One Shops Local is run by the local Chamber of Commerce and promotes local independent shops and businesses in the Epping Forest district. Recently it has had an improved website with a new slogan “Discover your local shops.” Any business in the Epping Forest District is invited to promote themselves for free by registering their business along with some pictures and any special offers. These offers will be mailed out to all the subscribers on the website ensuring that YOUR business gets noticed. There are some 400 businesses and subscribers registered already. Don’t miss your chance to make that extra sale before Christmas – register at One Shops Local.
Economic Impact Research – The Economic Impact of the Essex/Epping Visitor Economy 2013The Cool Tourism visitor economy impact research findings for 2013 (published December 2014). An important insight into the tourism and visitor economy within Essex and then specifically Epping with comparisons to other Essex districts and with 2012 data. Use the links below to open the findings in either PowerPoint or PDF formats.Key Facts for tourism in Epping Forest District 2013:£193,240,100 – total value of tourism3,406 – Actual employment (2,489 FTE)7% – proportion of population involved in tourismEconomic Impact Essex/Epping 2013 PowerpointEconomic Impact Essex/Epping 2013 PDF
|Tony Boyce with Waltham Abbey Town Crier, Peter Frost||Welcome to Tourism Matters
This is the first issue of our electronic digest of joint work and activity to promote and develop the tourism and visitor economy across the Epping Forest District. Here you’ll find a short update with contact details to get further information on any particular issue or initiative that might interest businesses linked to our successful and developing tourist/visitor economy. I hope you find it useful. If you would like to make any suggestions about the kind of information you would like to see here, please let us know. There are contact details at the end of this newsletter.
Chairman of Epping Forest District Council and the Tourism and Visitor Board.
|Tourism Manager Appointed
Following the successful establishment of the district’s Tourism and Visitor Board, Quentin Buller was appointed at the end of last year as Tourism Development Manager to take the work of the Board forward. No stranger to the tourism offer in the district, he has been active over a number of years working with local attractions and partners across the industry. His aim now is to expand the membership of the group to include all those local businesses looking to grow this important part of the local economy. Contact Quentin on 01992 564116 or by email.
|Tony Boyce with Lance Bourne from the Royal Gunpowder Mills, George Kieffer and Quentin Buller||Chairman of Visit Essex tours district
The Chairman of Visit Essex, George Kieffer, recently spent a day in the district to get a first-hand understanding of the superb range and quality of the attractions and facilities found across Epping Forest – a district which boasts one of the highest numbers of paid-up members of Visit Essex.Hosted by Tourism and Visitor Board Chairman, Tony Boyce, the tour route covered most corners of the district.
At various stops along the way, George had an opportunity to speak to a variety of people involved in our tourist and visitor economy and discuss their aspirations for the future as well as the way in which Visit Essex was supporting their business and growth.
|Epping Tourism Conference 20th March
A Tourism Conference is being held during English Tourism Week on Friday 20th March, kindly hosted by the Marriott Hotel Waltham Abbey. The last such event was very well attended and this year we will have a range of speakers covering subjects such as potential sources of grants to local tourism businesses, support for business building and training, updates on tourism activities and a look forward to plans for new and exciting festivals and opportunities to develop the industry locally. This event is free and places are limited so book early.
|The Visit Epping Forest stand at Excursions 2015 with Lance Bourne (left) from the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Vikki Wood from
Waltham Abbey TIC and Dean Walton from Epping Ongar Railway holding the information packs about a range of attractions in the district
|Exhibitions promote visits to Epping Forest
Visit Epping Forest had a presence at Excursions 2015, the premier Group Travel exhibition held at Alexander Palace on the 24th January. The stand
was organised by the tourism team in Waltham Abbey and staffed by representatives from the Tourist Information Centre, Royal Gunpowder Mills and Epping Ongar Railway who did a fantastic job of promoting the attractions in our district to potential trade customers.Coming up are two more tourism exhibitions at which the district will have a stand. The first is the Essex Tourism & Leisure Show at Charter Hall Colchester on the 26th February and the second is the Lakenheath Travel Fair on the 7th March which is hosted by the American airbase and attracts airforce personnal and their families looking for places to visit and things to do. Both shows offer great opportunities to promote the Epping Forest district as a great destination.
|Online traffic continues to grow
During December, visiteppingforest.org saw a 44% increase in users and a 53% increase in page views compared with December 2012. The most popular pages continue to be the home page, what’s on and getting there with places to eatbeing the third most popular exit page!Both Facebook and Twitter continue to build a strong social media presence with December recording a reach of 1300 for Facebook and Twitter reaching an amazing 7,400 people.
|Free training and mentoring
Visit Essex are running a programme to help, support and mentor small business start-ups in the tourism and hospitality industries. If you are a SME in the tourism or related sector and have been in business for less than 18 months, or are looking to set up a business in 2015, Visit Essex are offering FREE training in marketing
and customer care and a free mentoring session. You will also be provided with a tourism toolkit.
If you are interested in taking up this opportunity please email Lisa Bone
|New Manager for the Tourist Information Centre
The Tourist Information Centre in Waltham Abbey, which is funded jointly by the Town and District Councils, continues to offer helpful advice and promote the whole of the Epping Forest District. Recently appointed manager Vikki Wood is really enjoying her role and believes that the TIC has much to offer visitor-based businesses looking to promote their attractions, services and accommodation. Contact Vikki to find out more about the Tourist Information Centre and how it can help you.
|Survey shows areas for growth in tourism
The Cool Tourism Economic Impact Research on Essex Tourism 2013 was recently published looking at the county as a whole and by district. Below are some of the findings relating to the Epping Forest district:There was 4% increase over 2012 for those visiting from within the UK and those coming for a single day. Our small number of visitors from overseas dropped in number but their length of stay increased. Tourism in Epping Forest was worth over £193m in 2013 and it accounted for 7% of the district’s employment, identical to that in Chelmsford and Colchester. 128,000 visits were made by UK tourists with 30,700 from overseas. 70,000 were for holidays whilst 37,000 were visiting friends or relatives and 19,000 were business related.
|Visit Epping Forest leaflet reprinted
The initial print run of our Visit Epping Forest leaflets has proved so popular that we have run out so swiftly had them reprinted! These have been used to great success to publicise the district and feature ten great reasons to visit as well as directing people to our website for more comprehensive and current information. If you would like to take and display these leaflets please let us know and we’ll arrange delivery. It is our aim to get these sited in as many appropriate places as possible.
|New Referral Scheme income generator
Chigwell Tours provides historical, scenic and thematic tours around Chigwell and Essex. In 2015, we are looking for local businesses and tourist attractions to partner with us to reach a wider audience as part of our new referral scheme. Through this they can generate additional income without any expenditure enhancing their customer experience at the same time. We are also looking to recruit and train knowledgeable local people as tour guides.
|One Shops Local update
One Shops Local is run by the local Chamber of Commerce and promotes local independent shops and businesses in the Epping Forest district.
It’s aim is to inform local people and visitors about the range of shops and services in the district and encourage them to support their local businesses. It is free to businesses from the area and to date almost 400 local shops and businesses have signed-up.
If you would like to be hosted on the site, please contact John Price, Chairman of the
local Chamber of Commerce for more information.
On March 20th Visit Epping Forest will be hosting a conference aimed at everyone associated with the tourism and visitor economy centred on the Epping Forest District. The conference is being held at the Marriot Hotel in Waltham Abbey and starts at 1.00pm.
This event is being organised by One Epping Forest, the district’s local strategic partnership who established Visit Epping Forest having identified tourism as a significant opportunity for economic growth in the district. Visit Epping Forest is driven by key tourism players in the district including the Corporation of London (Epping Forest), Epping Forest District Council, Epping Ongar Railway, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey Town Partnership and Town Council and others with a business interest in tourism and the visitor economy.
The conference is an opportunity to review the development of tourism in the district and hear about what’s planned for the future and how businesses can become involved and benefit. There will also be keynote speakers and presentations plus an opportunity for everyone’s input and networking.
The conference is particularly relevant to those running, or planning to run, attractions, events, markets, arts leisure and sports activities, accommodation, eating and drinking establishments, museums and heritage centres, specialist retail outlets and everyone else whose business benefits from the tourism and visitor economy.
Kindly hosted by the Waltham Abbey Marriott, this important event is free. To book your place please click here.
For further information on the conference, or any other aspect of tourism development in the Epping Forest District, contact Visit Epping Forest’s Tourism Development Manager, Quentin Buller firstname.lastname@example.org