Somerset’s thriving tourism industry
It may not be the first thing that springs to mind with the construction of a new nuclear power station but appreciation of Somerset’s thriving tourism industry has played a principal role in the planning of Hinkley Point C (HPC) from the outset of the project.
Hinkley Point C is proud to call Somerset its home, not just for the 10 years of construction but during the 60 years of planned operations and beyond.
It means that both development strategies and large financial investment have been committed and delivered to protect the existing tourism economy and ensure that the industry is in the best possible position to take advantage of the huge opportunities available.
Twenty-five thousand employment opportunities across the project not only means a boost to the wider economy, it also represents a major new market for Somerset’s tourism businesses.
Since 2015 Visit Somerset, Visit Exmoor, Exmoor National Park, local authorities, the County Council and EDF Energy have worked closely with tourism providers and their representatives on a comprehensive range of projects and initiatives funded through £700,000 of investment from HPC.
All of these new and collaborative initiatives are looked after by the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership which meets regularly to assess challenges and find opportunities for development.
What is HTAP?
The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) is a unique collaboration of organisations dedicated to supporting tourism in Somerset. It includes representatives from Visit Somerset and Visit Exmoor, local authorities, the County Council and EDF Energy.
The group has been managing EDF Energy’s £700,000 tourism investment since 2015 and has already delivered major national advertising and social media campaigns, unique digital innovations, such as the Somerset E-Book, and industry training support for digital developments.
The Group also keeps a close eye on the industry through a long-term tourism monitoring study, which has shown no negative impacts on tourism as result of HPC.
HTAP success stories
Some of the biggest successes for HTAP have come from the development of new marketing campaigns for the County delivered both digitally and in more traditional media across the UK and beyond. They are helping to encourage new visitors to the area and support the wide variety of experiences on offer.
Who knew that you could trek over a volcano in the Quantock Hills? That you can get married at a Lock Up that inspired the policeman's helmet! Or that Somerset is home to the largest breeding pairs of the rare 'Booming' Bittern. These are just some of the secrets that were opened up to the world as part of the Secret Somerset campaign developed by HTAP.
The Secret Somerset campaign was followed up by a unique look at some of the County’s finest walks – the majority of which are along stretches of the finest coastlines in the country. Secret Somerset Seawalks opened up these experiences to the UK and beyond, helping visitors to plan a stay and navigate the coast path with a set of planned walks and handy stopovers.
Most recently, Somerset took to social media across the globe to raise the profile of its “wild” side, whether that be wild swimming on Exmoor to mountain biking on the Quantocks – the county has a huge amount to offer.
Investing in the community
Tourism is also supported through other funds offered by the HPC project. For example, the Community Impact Mitigation Fund (part of a total £20 million investment in community funding) has recently provided an additional £500,000 to support the regeneration of tourism in Minehead.
The investment is designed to leave a long-term sustainable legacy for the area, supporting the tourism industry through well after the completion of the new power station.
Somerset is a fantastic place to be and we are pleased to be supporting Somerset’s drive to be on the map for visitors across the region, country and world!