Converting just 5% of Chesterfield’s day visitors into overnight stays would catapult the town’s visitor economy into world-class territory. The news came at the town’s annual Investment Summit.
Speaking at the sell-out event, keynote speaker James Berresford, Chair of the Derbyshire Culture, Heritage, Arts and Tourism Board, said: “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.”
The annual event, which is organised by the town inward investment campaign Destination Chesterfield was held at the four-star Casa Hotel, which was developed by local businessman Steve Perez, owner of Global Brands.
Last year Chesterfield attracted 3.7 million visitors who, between them, brought £175 million to the economy, representing a 50% uplift in tourism spend compared to 2009.
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, including an 84-bed hotel in the Basin Squareneighbourhood at Chesterfield Waterside.
First though, a 92-bed Premier Inn Hotel will open in the former Co-Op building on Elder Way in the town centre in January 2019. Further beds will also be delivered at the £400 million ‘tourism hub’ Peak Resort.
The developments in Chesterfield will not only create more bed spaces for the town’s visitors but will also create jobs for skilled young people to come into the catering and hospitality sector. Jobs and opportunity in the town are also forecast to increase with the planned HS2 stop at Chesterfield train Station in 2033.
In his capacity as Chair of Destination Chesterfield, Peter Swallow the Managing Director of Bolstertone Plc the company behind Chesterfield Waterside, said: “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.”
According to the HS2 Skills strategy which was published last month, construction of HS2 will support 15,000 engineering, design and building jobs by 2020.
HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: “Our skills strategy shows how we will create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally.”
As well as Destination Chesterfield, the Investment Summit was also organised by Derbyshire Economic Partnership and Marketing Derby and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
More than 200 people attended the Summit to learn more on the latest investment opportunities in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire. In addition to James Berresford, delegates also heard from Rupert Carr, Founder of Peak Resort, Huw Bowen, Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council, Adam Hearld of Jomast Developments, which is transforming the former Co-op building, and Frank Horsley, Head of Economic Regeneration at Derbyshire County Council.
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