East Lodge director Iain Hardman today announced a major new corporate partnership, signed by the famous multi award-winning Rowsley hotel and restaurant with regional tourist board Visit Peak District and Derbyshire. In an initial agreement set to last for 12 months, one of the country’s finest hotels will now appear prominently on all Visit Peak District and Derbyshire marketing materials and website and the two will work closely together in helping to promote not just each other, but the Peak District sub region to a wider audience.
Speaking at the sponsorship announcement, Iain Hardman said: “Against a challenging set of economic circumstances for many local businesses, it has still been an exciting and successful 2011 for East Lodge and this is something we hope to build on in the rest of this year, supported by this sponsorship deal as one of the central planks of our marketing strategy.
“Looking forward, we felt the time was right to work more closely with Visit Peak District and Derbyshire in ensuring the region is professionally promoted in a year that is set to see challenging trading conditions continue for the foreseeable future. East Lodge proves success can continue during a downturn but now is not the time to sit back and rest on our laurels. All of us in the region must redouble our efforts in making sure the whole country knows how much Rowsley and the Peak District have to offer. This sponsorship is a serious level of commitment in terms of time and finance and we look forward to working in partnership with Visit Peak District and Derbyshire and other regional tourism partners to see the wonderful Peak District continue to flourish.”
This positive local business co-operation comes at a time when government funding for tourist boards around the country is under threat, yet it is in difficult times that promotion becomes increasingly critical - when there are many destinations in the UK challenging for tourists to come and visit them.
As Visit Peak District and Derbyshire have ensured the region is recognised as a ‘Destination of Distinction’ in advance of London 2012, hotels like East Lodge are winning enough national awards to demonstrate that great hotels are not just found in the south; it makes great sense for two great local names to join forces in pushing the advantages of the region and its attractions in the highly competitive UK and European tourism and hospitality industry.
“East Lodge and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire have worked together for many years, but we are delighted to have agreed such an important sponsorship deal,” said David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District and Derbyshire. “Our association will now be a true partnership and with so many positive things to say about the region, sponsorship deals like that signed with East Lodge increase our ability to showcase the region nationwide and further afield.”
Some have applauded cuts in funding for tourist boards – unaware of the contribution the hospitality industry makes and the considerable revenue boost tourism brings to this region. In Derbyshire alone, tourism is worth £1.4 billion a year and employs more than 24,000 people - a considerable contribution to national GDP and the prosperity of the region as a whole. Visit Peak District has not been as badly affected by spending review cuts as other tourist boards in the UK but the organisation does rely on the support of various local organisations and businesses like East Lodge if its vital work is to continue.
”The region must continue to promote itself, irrespective of cuts and government spending reviews and we are committed to putting our money where our mouth is to do just that,” added Iain Hardman. “A more self-reliant approach to putting the region in the spotlight may be no bad thing and if we all join forces with this aim in mind, there is no reason we cannot put the ‘wow’ into Rowsley and the Peak District.”
East Lodge remains one of the top hotels and restaurants in the UK, with a prestigious range of accolades to its name. Owned by the Hardman family, East Lodge recently won gold at this year’s East Midlands Tourism Awards and can also point to the coveted AA “Inspectors’ Choice” Award, with three red stars for 2010 placing it within the top 150 hotels in the whole of the UK and East Lodge remains just one of 48 hotels in the country presented with a Visit England Gold Award.