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Big Local leads ambitious economic plan for tourism

Dover Big Local have given their town and its tourism industry a massive boost by bringing together partners including English Heritage, Dover District Council and Dover Town Council to support and co-fund a major new co-ordinated tourism project called Destination Dover.

Dover Big Local are committing £25,000 per year for 5 years and further funding is pledged from Dover Town Council, Dover District Council and English Heritage. Further in kind contributions and involvement are coming from the National Trust, P&O ferries, Port of Dover, and others.

It all began when Dover Big Local consulted local people on how their Big Local £1m should be spent. Tourism was seen as a major part of the town’s economy and something residents wanted to see developed as                                        a key priority.

So Dover Big Local commissioned Tourism Works, a Kent-based firm, to understand the current tourism offer, how it is promoted and what the future opportunities might be. Through interviews, workshops and reviewing past reports and data, Tourism Works found that while the town has fantastic heritage sites including Dover Castle, an iconic landscape of white cliffs and a thriving port, the promotion of the area is very disjointed and many of the 13 million passengers coming through the port every year don’t see Dover as a place to stop and explore.

Dover Big Local then tasked Tourism Works to use the research to develop an effective partnership proposition for improving the tourism offer in Dover.

There has been overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the project. Partners recognised the value of Dover Big Local’s leadership in the project and the need to employ a destination manager to co-ordinate a new marketing programme for the town in order to attract more visitors and improve their experience.

The resulting project – Destination Dover – will kick off when the new ‘Destination Manager’ is in post – the role is currently being advertised.

Ross Miller, the chair of Dover Big Local partnership said

‘The outcomes achieved so far significantly exceed our expectations and are a real feather in the cap of Dover Big Local.

‘I cannot emphasise enough how huge this is for Dover Big Local and for Dover itself. The project has achieved something that no other organisation has manged in convincing all the key players to not only work together on promoting Dover, but more importantly to pledge support to make it happen. There is a real chance here to put Dover back on the map.’

Watch this space!

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