Plymouths ambitious plans to become carbon neutral ocean playground
9th March 2020
Plymouth’s new Visitor Plan for 2020 - 2030 has set out a number of ambitious goals for the city, including becoming one of the UK’s first carbon neutral destinations.
As part of the city’s overall goal of becoming greener, the vision is for Plymouth to be a carbon neutral destination by 2030, with improved transport infrastructure that will make it easier for visitors to travel by train or ferry.
As home to the UK’s first national marine park, Plymouth’s ‘blue-green’ assets will take centre stage as a key theme in the plan. Over the next ten years, activity will build on Plymouth’s potential to offer visitors a unique way to explore the ocean and enjoy a city with a breath-taking waterfront, complemented by green spaces and the nearby Dartmoor National Park.
Other key themes focus on Plymouth’s brilliant culture and heritage and the opportunity to become a premier UK destination.
A number of ‘star projects’ are now also being explored, which underpin the key themes. These include developing the Mount Batten Watersports Centre, growing Plymouth’s night time economy to create an ‘après-sea’ experience for visitors, and realising the potential of key areas – such as the Civic Centre and Brunel Plaza.
Plymouth’s previous Visitor Plan, covering 2010 – 2020, has been an impressive success story having set out a collaborative strategic direction for the city. This led to huge amounts of investment being secured, which has enabled major projects including Mayflower 400, the development of The Box and the city’s impressive annual events programme.
The city has seen huge growth in visitor numbers, with the latest figures for 2018 showing a 5 per cent increase to 5.4 million visitors. The benefits to the local economy have been made clear, with visitor spend growing by 25 per cent to £330 million and an additional 3,490 jobs having been created and sustained in the tourism industry.
The new plan has set out impressive goals to grow visitor numbers and visitor spend even further, by 30 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, in the next decade.
Plymouth City Council is being asked to adopt the new Visitor Plan at a Cabinet meeting on 10 March.
Councillor Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “When you see how much has been achieved in the last decade, all I can say is – bring on the next ten years. The new Visitor Plan will ensure we keep the momentum from Mayflower 400 going and make sure Plymouth is an amazing place to visit, live, work and play.”
The lead organisation driving the Visitor Plan is Destination Plymouth, a private/public sector partnership funded by Plymouth City Council, Plymouth City Centre Company, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and membership income.
Amanda Lumley, Executive Director of Destination Plymouth, said: “The visitor economy is hugely important for Plymouth, providing nearly 8,000 jobs for local people and drawing in visitors from across the globe for leisure, to study and to do business.
“We have a great team working across all our Destination Plymouth partners. Their hard work has successfully taken the international perception of Plymouth from one of the least considered cities in the UK to visit, to one of the top destinations in the world - as recommended by Condé Nast Traveller and the New York Times. We have also seen Plymouth go from no cruise ships in port to attracting 12 during 2020.
“These are all great achievements and I am very proud of our team. This year’s Mayflower 400 commemorations will provide even more visibility for the city and we intend to make the most of this as we head into an exciting new decade.”
Adrian Vinken OBE, chairman of Destination Plymouth and the International Mayflower Partnership said: “Tourism is a key driver of economic growth not just for the city but also the wider South West region. Using Mayflower 400 as a key catalyst, Destination Plymouth has seen visitor numbers grow by more than 20 per cent over the past eight years and attracted £200 million in private sector investment into the city, with significant funding support from the DCMS, Visit England, Arts Council England and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
“The Destination Plymouth board has played a pivotal role in leading the sector’s growth and transformation, pulling together strategic partners from across the city and encouraging commitments of funding and resources to support delivery. Our ambition is to build on these solid foundations and we firmly believe that our new 2020-2030 Visitor Plan and destination management strategy will provide the road map to realise those ambitions.”