New tourism strategy launched for Marches

February 5, 2020

A major new strategy to develop tourism and the visitor economy across the region has been launched by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Marches LEP Visitor Economy Strategy calls for a new partnership approach to promoting Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to develop a thriving, sustainable and enhanced tourism sector which will lead to increased numbers of visitors and new jobs and opportunities.
LEP chair Mandy Thorn said developing a flourishing tourism economy was crucial to the overall long-term economic health of the region.
“A thriving tourism sector is a vital strand in the overall ambition we have to make this region the best place to live, work and play in the whole of the UK,” she told the Marches Tourism Forum at the strategy’s launch in Hereford.
“The strategy we are launching is a start in plotting a course to achieving that goal. We are setting the region a number of key goals to develop a thriving, sustainable and uniquely local tourism offer.”
Mrs Thorn said key measures outlined in the strategy included bringing local authorities and the tourism industry together to work in partnership to promote the region as a whole, marketing the Marches as a prime destination for ‘Independent Explorers’ and developing Telford’s role as a business conference and events centre.
Current figures showed the Marches performing below the national average across a range of tourism indicators and a co-ordinated approach was now needed promote the region, Mrs Thorn said.
“Our strategy calls for a new era of partnership working both between the three local authorities but also the tourism industry on the ground. 
“We believe there is a clear need for strategic leadership in this area which could be provided by a new partnership responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of destination marketing & promotion, research and market intelligence, destination management and the co-ordination of business tourism.”
The strategy also calls for the region to target couples, families and groups aged from their late 20s to 40s – the so-called Independent Explorers – in a golden arc from Liverpool to Manchester through Birmingham and south to Cardiff.
“Targeting this segment will open up an influential new market which will support the repositioning of the Marches without discouraging the existing market. It will also contribute to the all-important reduction of our carbon footprint and help us establish a truly sustainable visitor economy for the region,” Mrs Thorn added.
To view the new strategy in full visit 

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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