Even we need reminding from time to time of the astounding journey that Manchester has been on in its development as a cultural destination. Earlier this month we were pleased to join the Tourism Management Institute leading some ‘culture’ tours and speaking on building a cultural destination at their annual conference held in Manchester – providing plenty of opportunities for pride, review and reflection. Our connections with the city run back an incredible 30 years.
On the whole Manchester is doing great guns. Still 3rd most visited city in the UK (after London and Edinburgh) with culture shooting up the leader-board as the reason why visitors are coming.
It’s never good to be complacent though, and together with Marketing Manchester and the Cultural Destinations Steering Group we acknowledge there is still much to be done.
We have learned a lot this Autumn chatting with International Travel Operators about what they think the city has to offer their fully independent traveller (FIT) markets and how we might reach them. The feedback tells us that football still dominates (of course) and that there is still work to be done on getting Manchester’s cultural messages more synonymous with the city and better known internationally, but the tourism door is most definitely open for more arts and heritage experiences – from collections highlights tours to concerts to festivals and more. We are now taking the findings of those conversations back to our cultural partners in the city to see how we might develop new tourism-friendly bookable product. If we get this right then International Travel Operators will feature Manchester more in their own brochures and itineraries; the city gets more staying visitors; they in turn get to access more of the cultural offer and have a better, more memorable time, and the cultural partners develop new income streams. Win-win-win-win.
Image: HOME, Manchester