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Wessex: a new British brand

Outgoing British Tourist Authority (BTA) chairman David Quarmby emphasised two key words on the subject of…

Outgoing British Tourist Authority (BTA) chairman David Quarmby emphasised two key words on the subject of destination branding – architecture and hierarchy. He was addressing the launch meeting of Destination Wessex which took place last week, appropriately enough, in Salisbury`s 12th century Medieval Hall. His theme was that British tourism, under its new management, must develop a multi-layered network of viable brands – national, regional and local – in recognition of the fact that political boundaries are not always the best destination boundaries.



Destination Wessex is the brand name being adopted by the Wessex Tourism Association, a private-sector organisation recently set up to promote Wessex as a quality heritage destination. Although it is recognised as one of the most attractive and interesting parts of Britain, it actually attracts surprisingly few visitors from abroad. Research has shown that this is mainly because Wessex is divided into many politically defined regions, subregions and localities, none of which make sense outside Britain as marketable destinations.



The launch meeting was designed as the first step in a carefully orchestrated campaign to persuade a small group of major stakeholders in the region to invest in marketing Wessex in key markets abroad. The aim is to have built up sufficient funding by the late summer to prepare a marketing programme for 2004.



The research on which Destination Wessex is based was funded mainly by the European Commission as an example for Europe of a regional destination that must transcend political boundaries if it is to succeed in the international market place.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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