CAMBRIDGE City Council is joining forces with local partners to support the formation of a new organisation promoting tourism and supporting the recovery of the tourist sector in Cambridge.
The new organisation, called Visit Cambridge, will help to promote the city to local, national and international visitors. In 2019, prior to the pandemic’s impact on international travel, Cambridge attracted over 8 million visitors, helping to boost the local economy by an estimated £867 million in economic value and accounting for around 17,000 jobs [see note 1 below].
Visit Cambridge is the successor to Visit Cambridge and Beyond (VCB), the previous destination management organisation for the area, which went into liquidation last year following the severe drop in tourist numbers caused by the pandemic. Since the liquidation, the council has worked with partners, Cambridge Business Improvement District (Cambridge BID), Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprises, and King’s College, to acquire and protect VCB’s assets, including its web domain name and brand identity.
Following an independent legal assessment, it has been decided that the new organisation, once established, will be run as a ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC).
To register as a CIC, Visit Cambridge will need to demonstrate that its assets and profits will be used for the benefit of the community through tourism development and promotion, and not for reward of directors and shareholders.
To further support Visit Cambridge’s community benefit function, its work will be supported by an advisory board of local stakeholders, including representatives from the city’s tourism sector. Visit Cambridge CIC, once established, will be run by non-paid directors.
Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, said: “Many Cambridge businesses and jobs are dependent on the income provided by tourists, so the last 18 months have been extremely tough for very many of them.
“By establishing Visit Cambridge, the council and our partners will be doing all we can to help promote our amazing city to potential visitors from across the UK and all around the world and support the recovery of the local visitor economy in a sustainable way.”
Councillors approved the establishment of Visit Cambridge as a Community Interest Company at a meeting of the council’s Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee on 7 October.
1. Figures are taken from the 2019 East of England Tourism’s Volume and Value Study for Cambridge City.