A NEW economic network led by Chester’s top attractions have launched a bid to drive tourism in and around the city.

‘Destination Chester’ has been pioneered by the new group which includes Chester Zoo, Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, CH1 Chester Bid, Chester Hospitality Association, Blue Planet Aquarium and the National Waterways Museum.

The network is supported and co-ordinated by Marketing Cheshire and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

This forward-thinking network plans to increase the number of visitors and the time they spend in Chester by working closely together to produce an annual programme of events, which will include new events and enhanced existing ones.

Councillor Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Attractions in Chester have always worked well together and the aim of Destination Chester is to increase this co-operation through clear branding, cross-attraction marketing, joint events and pooled resources. By working to our individual strengths, whilst being united in a common goal of making Chester even better for residents and visitors, we can be more bold and imaginative in growing existing events and launching new initiatives.”

Jamie Christon, chief operating officer at Chester Zoo, said: “It is clear that for a destination like Chester to succeed the leaders in the visitor economy need to be pooling together and talking the same language. This is now happening and we are determined to alter the city’s approach in the past in such a competitive market. Quick wins for this summer and a more detailed plan for the medium to long term will see visitor attractions, shopping centres, hoteliers, CH1 Bid, Marketing Cheshire, and the council come together to speak with one voice about our city.”

Andy Farrall, chief executive at Marketing Cheshire and deputy chief executive at the LEP, said: “Cheshire is an outstanding county for tourism thanks to its beautiful and diverse attractions and imaginative events, all of which are underpinned by excellent and varied accommodation and outstanding places to eat.

"Tourist numbers have risen consistently and last year, 25 million visitors visited the area - a testament to the way the county’s attractions have continually adapted to changing times. The creation of the dynamic ‘Destination Chester’ network is another step on this road. We plan to use our resources, creativity and ‘joined up thinking’ to develop something that is much ‘greater than the sum of the parts."