13 December 2021
Boosting Local Tourism with the Herefordshire County BID

With a population of 190,000 and an area of 837 square miles, Herefordshire is small in numbers but large in size. Herefordians know that it is a heaven on earth, of course, but the truth is that somehow we have never quite been able to get this message out to the wider world. Instead Herefordshire has been regarded as the UK's best-kept secret.

Well, that may be about to change. The county's tourism economy thrived last year from the national boom in "staycations". We have a superb new tourism branding, with a great website at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk, which is well worth an online visit. Anyone wanting to spend a really nice weekend or a longer holiday here can find a vast array of well-organised options and ideas.

And now we have the new Herefordshire BID. This is a Business Improvement District--not a pretty name, I grant you, but a means by which the county's businesses can get together to guide an economic development strategy over the next five years.

Nearly £3 million is expected to flow through the BID to promote Herefordshire over the next five years. It will be funded and controlled by local businesses, with a special focus on tourism and the independent shops, restaurants, leisure and hospitality businesses that are such a noted feature of the county.

Since the Government passed the Business Improvement legislation back in 2004, there have been over 300 successful BIDs in the UK. But these have mainly focused on towns and cities, with a few for coastal regions. Herefordshire’s BID is thus a landmark, as the first destination BID to cover an entire inland county.

Thanks to a lot of hard work and public support, Herefordshire has been relaunched over the past 18 months as a destination for tourists, with new marketing campaigns and strategies that have benefited many local people and businesses. Now the BID offers us the chance to take the next step.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in the tourism economy and local retail to get involved, consider joining in with the BID and help to shape its plans and projects. We owe great thanks to all those who have been involved so far, and our thanks will be greater still if they can give a further boost to our economy, jobs and businesses.

More information on the Herefordshire Destination BID can be found at https://herefordshirecountybid.co.uk/

First published in the Hereford Times, 9 Dec 2021