Businesses gather for 10th annual tourism conference - 8848

Businesses gather for 10th annual tourism conference

More than 100 businesses from across Staffordshire met at Uttoxeter Racecourse for the 2015 Destination Staffordshire Toursim Conference.

The 10th such event was held at the racecourse on Tuesday (April 21) as companies from the attraction/activity, accomodation, food & drink, retail and arts & crafts trades met for a series of talks and workshops.

Alton Towers Resort, Trentham Estate and Drayton Manor Park were just some of the names in attendance at the conference that sought to inform and exhibit the tourism possibilities for businesses in Staffordshire.

The county is in the midst of a toursim boom with it worth £1.1 billion to the local economy. This is set to see a further boost when IRONMAN 70.3 comes to Staffordshire in June. The triathlon is to be held in the area for three successive years until 2017. The World Championship Qualifiers will take place at the Shugborough Estate, Chasewater Country Park and Cannock Chase and is set to attract visitors from across the globe as a result.

Speaking at the conference was MD of IRONMAN UK Kevin Stewart. He said: “Staffordshire was selected to host the IRONMAN 70.3 because It fulfilled the basic requirements for our events by offering a great venue for the swim, picturesque scenery for the bike and a stunning location for the run and finish.

“Above and beyond the county council has shown tremendous enthusiasm from the outset to host the event and work with IRONMAN on the road closures that are needed for an event of this scale.

“It also benefits from being so central to the majority of the UK population, which certainly helped stimulate demand for places in the event.”

Mr Stewart added that the Staffordshire event has already broken records. He said: “The location of Staffordshire has been a principle factor in the demand, in excess of 10,000 pre-registered for the event, which meant that it is the fastest selling 70.3 in IRONMAN history, with all 2,500 places gone in under an hour.”

It was also announced to the trade the launch of Destination Staffordshire’s Short-Break Packages. This new feature gives holidaymakers the chance to create their perfect Staffordshire break all in one convenient and easy to use website.

Graeme Whitehead, Destination Staffordshire tourism manager, said: “Visitor numbers in Staffordshire are going from strength to strength and the conference was a fantastic way to demonstrate its impact on businesses in Staffordshire and how companies can maximise the potential of tourism.

“Kevin Stewart’s speech only served to demonstrate the pulling power of the county and this is further underlined by us hosting the Corportate Games in June.

“The announcement to the trade of Short-Break Packages is a key moment for us and by making it easier for visitors to customise their stay in Staffordshire adds to the appeal for tourists making the county their place of choice to visit.”

Sue Wiper, director of Trentham Monkey Forest in Trentham, added: “Tourism is really driving forward in Staffordshire and Destination Staffordshire is really important to bringing visitors to our area.

“An event like the tourism conference gives a great opportunity to form bonds with other visitor attractions from across the county.”