Tourism’s new Peak

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Campaigns to encourage more tourists to visit the Peak District and Derbyshire are paying increasing dividends, according to independent research.

The Peak District’s success is a boost for the Sheffield City Region, which the Local Enterprise Partnership, created earlier this year, has made clear stands to benefit more from attractions to the south of Sheffield than from some of the leading attractions in Yorkshire, concentrated in the Dales.

Income generated by marketing campaigns run by tourist board, Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, rose by more than a third to just over £40 million in 2010.

The Peak District tourist board says research shows its Visitor Guide brought in £66 for every pound spent on promoting it.

Meanwhile, its Elements campaign – expanded to include walking festivals, thematic short breaks, well dressings and gardens and a new ‘Spookyshire’ campaign, promoting visits to haunted houses bat walks, pumpkin parties, murder mystery dinners and tomb trails – raised £64 for every pound spent promoting it, compared with £11 in the previous year.

Tourist board head of marketing and deputy chief executive, David Thornton, said the organisation was “delighted, but not surprised” that the independent research, carried out by Cardiff-based Strategic Marketing, had shown the 2010 marketing campaigns to be “so powerful and cost-effective.”

“Both have punched well above their weight in terms of return on investment, despite a very challenging economic climate,” said Mr Thornton.

“I hope the Government will continue to recognise the value and necessity of funding such valuable initiatives in the future.

“We’re particularly pleased to see that, by broadening the scope of the Elements campaign to offer more choice and variety, we have been able to achieve substantially better results than those for the previous year.

“This reinforces our view that collaborating closely with our local partners, both in the private and public sectors, is paying dividends – especially for all the many tourism businesses who buy into our annual marketing campaigns.”