Chesterfield on track to create world class visitor economy
It has been revealed that converting just 5% of Chesterfield’s day visitors into overnight stays would transform the town’s visitor economy.
Speaking at the annual Chesterfield Investment Summit, keynote speaker James Berresford, Chair of the Derbyshire Culture, Heritage, Arts and Tourism Board, added: “Chesterfield has its foot on the ladder of being world class and is on track to transform its visitor economy. It must focus on creating the distinctive, unique and special.”
At the sell-out event, which was held at Casa Hotel, it was revealed that last year Chesterfield attracted 3.7 million visitors who brought £175 million to the economy, representing a 50% uplift in tourism spend compared to 2009. (Read more about the growth in tourism in Chesterfield)
Mr Berresford praised the town’s ambitions saying: “Tourists today want experiences. We need to focus on the unique and distinctive things we have like the market and the Crooked Spire to stand out from the crowd. They are a wonderful local experience reflecting the character of the town.”
Huw Bowen, Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council, added: “It is very much a time of growth for the town and borough. However, as a council we remain committed to the premise that the growth we generate must be inclusive and that local people must benefit in terms of jobs and business opportunities.”
As part of Chesterfield’s drive to increase the visitor economy, more than 2,500 beds will be added to the Borough’s accommodation offering over the next 36 months. The 92-bed Premier Inn Hotel on Elder Way will open in January 2019 and further beds will be delivered at Chesterfield Waterside and Peak Resort.
Construction of a ‘core four’ phase one of Peak Resort will begin next year on the Birchall Estate. Phase One is scheduled to open at the end of 2020. Phase One will be centered around the Gateway Complex which will provide serviced connectivity and equipment for tourists to engage in all sorts of activities in the surrounding communities and National Park.
The Birchall Estate has planning approvals for up to 2000 hotel rooms and 250 chalets. The hotels will be delivered in phases and in a range of formats from 5 star to hostel accommodation. The aim is to deliver the quality and scope of accommodation and hospitality similar to that of a ski resort, sitting at the heart of the country alongside the Peak District National Park.
Delegates heard that climate change, travel security, changing habits and Brexit have all been key factors in the realisation of Peak Resort. Combined, they are driving more people to holiday in the UK.
Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield, added: “Young people need to raise their aspirations and skill up ahead of HS2 arriving in Chesterfield and the opening of Peak Resort to ensure that they and the town makes the most of the opportunities that these schemes will bring.”
Organised by Destination Chesterfield, Derbyshire Economic Partnership and Marketing Derby and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the annual Investment Summit was held at Casa Hotel.
More than 200 people attended to learn more on the latest investment opportunities in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire. In addition to James Berresford, Rupert Carr and Huw Bowen, delegates also heard from Adam Hearld of Jomast Developments, which is transforming the former Co-op building and Frank Horsley, Head of Economic Regeneration at Derbyshire County Council.