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Church Stretton Area Tourism Group

CHURCH STRETTON AREA TOURISM GROUP

Launch of 2010 brochure - 'In and around Church Stretton'

The 2010 brochure 'In and around Church Stretton - the heart of the Shropshire Hills', (which replaces the 2009 brochure 'Where to Stay, Eat, Drink and Shop in and around Church Stretton' .will be launched at two forum's on Thursday, 18th February at the Longmynd Hotel. This year's edition, contains 60 pages of information, interesting articles plus a comprehensive guide to accommodation, eating places, what to do and where to shop. 125 tourism and retail businesses have taken a Listing or Advert in the brochure - this enables us to distribute it to our visitors free, so the whole tourism and business sector should get a maximum benefit from showcasing the town and area in such a comprehensive way.

The launch of the 2010 brochure, at two separate forums (4.00pm and 6.00pm), with each forum having three main themes.

· launching the brochure,

· distributing it to those of you who can attend,

· A brief presentation on how the Church Stretton Area Tourism Group plans to enhance the visitor experience by its work on marketing and publicising our town and its beautiful surrounding area.

2010 will again provide us with serious challenges as we try to maintain and increase our visitor numbers and get them to stay longer, and we hope we can all work together to achieve this.

We have selected the two forum times carefully in order to enable as many of you as possible to both attend to your business, and give an hour of your time to collecting your copies of the brochure, and understanding what we are planning for this year.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

After the 6.00pm forum, at 7.00pm, the Annual General Meeting of the Church Stretton Area Tourism Group will be held. You are welcome to stay for this.

We look forward to welcoming you on February 18th.
Alan Garner
Chair CSATG

Chairman's Report

Firstly, I would like to remember one of our number who sadly passed away in September. Anne Oakes Jones had served on the CSATG committee since its inception, and I was very happy when she decided to continue her membership of the 2009 executive. Even though she became ill in the spring she continued to contribute in her own special way, and to offer her knowledge and experience to our less experienced executive. She is sadly missed. We are planning to commemorate her life and works by introducing an Anne Oakes Jones Memorial walk as part of the 'Walkers are Welcome'(WAW) series of walks -- (ie Walk Five).

On forming a new executive in January 2009, and organising the various roles and responsibilities, our first priority was to understand the task in hand, and set out a process for achieving the stated aim of continuing to make a major contribution to tourism in the area. We produced a strategy document, with short term, medium term and long term goals, and proceeded to work towards these. Some have been achieved, but most are longer term and are constantly being worked on -- such as increased marketing, PR, and bringing together the network of Tourism businesses in order that each help one another to increase visitor numbers.

In the middle of the year, we were awarded a sum of money to create a marketing plan, and engaged tourism professionals to create a specific Marketing Strategy for us. The consultants report was delivered to us in November 2009, and we are still working on determining the priorities that might improve visitor numbers. We hope to present the report to you at the Annual General Meeting, and to identify our key actions for 2010.

I cannot praise the CSATG executive highly enough. Remember this is a volunteer task, and the number of hours spent is enormous. However, the real praise is for their total professionalism in carrying out the tasks we have completed, and their ability to debate and listen to different points of view, before reaching a consensus decision. -- vital in any volunteer run organisation to prevent factions and different agendas taking over.

Our achievements in 2009 include:

· Publication and distribution of the 'Where to Stay' brochure, including the acceptance that local advertising can partly fund the cost of a free publication. The 2009 brochure also included shops for the first time.

· Preparation and publication of the 2010 'In and Around Church Stretton' brochure, again with increased revenue from local advertising. An additional 5.000 copies in print.

· Contribution to and acceptance of the 'Marketing plan for the Church Stretton Area' and initial actions from its recommendations.

· The achievement of the Arriva Train Wales -- 'Best Station Garden' award and the continued improvements to the railway station and surrounds.

· The achievement of the Pride of Place 'Clean Britain 2009 Award' --Town Category Bronze and the continuance of the work that Pride of Place volunteers are doing.

· Contribution to the arrangement of a successful WAW annual conference.

· Ensuring the financial viability of future Walking Festivals by bringing the organisation under CSATG responsibility.

· Continuance of the process of cooperating with outside bodies to promote CS and its area as a prime visitor attraction. (NT, SHAONB, Town Council, Chamber of Trade, Shrosphire Council).

· Major contribution into the development of the brief for new Town web site.

· Increased PR and a coordinated approach to issuing Press releases.

· The strengthening of our accounting practices, budgeting policies and accountability issues.

· A healthy balance sheet.

2010 -- KEY ACTION POINTS

· Distribution of In and Around CS to a wider audience.

· Preparation and publication of 2011 brochure.

· Creation of a vibrant CSATG network, cooperating on building better businesses through working more closely together to present an exciting tourism product.

· Continuance of financial stability and provision of sufficient funds to continue the work of the CSATG.

· Increase the numbers of people active in working towards the aims of CSATG.

· Carry out the CS marketing plan to an agreed agenda and timescale.

· Participate in the creation of a new web site for the CS area.

· Continue to manage a controlled level of public relations to our Powerful PR plan.

· Continue to grow the Pride of Place and Station Gardens schemes.

· Update all tourism notice boards in the town and in Carding Mill Valley with a new town and district map and new advertisers.

· Cooperate with Mayfair on bringing to market, sensible and suitable CS mementos for local sales in shops, cafes etc.

· Continue to cooperate with all local tourist bodies -- Shropshire Tourism, South Shropshire tourism Ltd, other town tourism groups, to glean a wider knowledge and better understanding of where CS fits into the whole scheme of tourism in Shropshire

· Commence a Walkers are Welcome project -- Enhancing the WAW brand in CS.

· Represent the tourism industry on local and county bodies such as the CS Partnership, Economic Development group etc.

· Manage the funding grants as needed, continuing the policy of good financial practice and complete accountability in all financial issues.