The English Riviera Tourism Company (ERTC) has had its first major national award success, winning the ‘Best in Class’ web site award at the 2012 British Destinations Association Conference in Blackpool last week.
The judges agreed that the English Riviera’s new destination web site home page is the very best in Britain, beating other leading resorts including Bournemouth, Scarborough, Blackpool and Great Yarmouth. Carolyn Custerson as Chief Executive of the ERTC, attended the 2-day conference which included time to view the results of Blackpool’s £500 million resort rejuvenation programme that has been taking place in the resort over the past 5 years.
“I am obviously delighted to receive this award, said Carolyn, as it builds on previous success achieved by the English Riviera Tourist Board, which also won British Destinations Association awards. But to have achieved a national web site award such as this when the ERTC is only 18 months old and when e-marketing is moving at such a rapid rate, is a notable achievement. I would like to thank everyone involved including the ERTC executive team, E-Strategy, a local Torbay business who now manages the site on our behalf and New Mind, a highly reputable international web site solution company. This has a been a real team effort.’’
The ERTC board decided to invest £50k to relaunch the official web site www.englishriviera.co.uk as part of their first business plan, recognising the need to ‘up the pace’ on digital destination marketing. This investment forms part of the delivery of the adopted Turning the Tide for Tourism Strategy with developments also including: the new English Riviera iPhone and Android App, web site widgets, new Facebook page and plans to launch a new English Riviera mobile web platform. The new English Riviera web site is performing well with over 500 local businesses now promoted on the site. Traffic to the site for May alone was up 95% on May 2011 and the tourism company is now on target to attract 500,000 visitors by the end of the year, double the levels achieved in 2011. These growing traffic volumes are particularly significant when traffic to destination web sites is increasingly under threat from an increasing number of major Global Distribution Systems.
Carolyn Custerson said, ‘’It was very exciting to see all the work that has been happening in Blackpool. With the arrival of international brands Merlin and Nickelodeon clearly having a very positive impact on increasing visitor numbers. Blackpool Council have also made the decision to set up a new private sector led arms length company like the ERTC. During the 2-day conference visit, their representatives were very interested to learn more about the successes the ERTC are having and are planning to visit the English Rivera to learn more in the near future.’’