Date of release: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

 James Kennell, University of GreenwichTowns and cities are missing out on opportunities to build business and create jobs by not recognising the importance of the visitor economy, according to research by tourism experts at the University of Greenwich.

The university's Economic Development Resource Centre team, led by James Kennell, is working in partnership with the Association of Town & City Management to help more places with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) tap into tourism.

This has been a key driver of economic growth and job creation since the start of the global economic crisis and now contributes £126.9bn to the UK economy each year.

Yet the university team's initial analysis of recent business plans and policy documents from 113 BIDs in England and Scotland revealed only 60 per cent made reference to tourism and the visitor economy. A quarter of those only mentioned it in one sentence.

James Kennell, a Senior Lecturer from the university's Business School, and a tourism expert, says: "Our aim is to create a series of management and development tools for BID managers to maximise the value that tourism and the visitor economy can bring to their districts, towns and cities.

"Following our initial document analysis, we are talking to BID managers across the UK and identifying the challenges they face in growing their visitor economies. We will compile case studies highlighting how BIDs have taken innovative approaches to present their towns and cities as destinations for visitor and tourists.

"The final stage of our research with the Association of Town & City Management will see the development and production of business and management tools for BID leaders."

Mark Ross, the Association of Town & City Management's BIDs manager, says: "We consider this an important piece of work because BIDs are at the forefront of developing localised visitor economy projects. As local authority finances are increasingly under pressure, we see BIDs as a potential new force in building businesses in our towns and cities."

Story by Public Relations

Picture: James Kennell, University of Greenwich.