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Gloucestershire Business News

Introducing Cheltenham - The Festival Town

Cheltenham will promote itself as The Festival Town in a bid to attract new national and international visitors.

The town is home to 25 significant festivals every year, many of which are renowned around the world.

The new brand builds on the town's Regency heritage and as a place for leisure and pleasure.

Marketing Cheltenham have created what they believe will be a distinctive new brand.

Announcing the brand, Marketing Cheltenham said the town will "now promote itself with the strapline 'Visit Cheltenham - The Festival Town.'

"Rooted in the town's spa and Regency heritage and as a place for leisure and pleasure, the new brand builds on its positioning as the place to come and refresh your mind, body and soul.

It added: "Only now, our healing waters have been replaced by the town's refreshing festival vibes."

The festivals bring thousands of visitors and millions of pounds into Cheltenham's economy each year.

The best-known is the world-famous March meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse, known simply as 'The Festival'.

The four-day feature on the calendar that concludes with the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the fourth largest sporting event in the UK and attracts upwards of 250,000 to Prestbury Park each year.


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The town is also famous for holding the world's oldest literature festival, while its jazz, science and music festivals are long-standing annual events.

Kelly Ballard, Manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said: "In 2017 we launched a strategy to grow Cheltenham's visitor economy by five per cent year-on-year.

"The market for visitors is very competitive but we know that market is growing, particularly from overseas visitors, and we want a part of that.

"So, we commissioned market research into what people feel about Cheltenham and its appeal as a visitor destination.

"The findings came back loud and clear - people saw Cheltenham mainly as 'the horse racing place'.

"While horse racing brings a huge contribution to Cheltenham, it is only 16 days of the year.

"If we want people to come year-round, then people need to associate the town with something distinctive.

"Working with the team from Little Big Agency as well as a consortium of organisations from across the town, we have decided that we want Cheltenham to become known as 'The Festival Town'.

"Festivals are what we do well, it is part of our heritage and there is a growing number of people going to festivals across the world."

Steve Jordan, Leader of Cheltenham Borough Council said "Cheltenham is a fantastic town that has so many assets of interest to potential visitors however, we have a visitor economy that is underperforming in relation to others.

"Locally we are very proud of our festivals and the contribution they bring to the culture of Cheltenham for residents and businesses alike, The Festival Town strapline seems like the natural choice."

Ian George, Director of Festivals at Cheltenham Festivals added: "The Festivals are an integral part of Cheltenham's unique offer as a cultural destination.

"There are few other towns in England which play host to such an astonishing breadth of artists, authors, musicians, scientists and writers each year.

"Our year-round outreach projects engage with our national and local community's and culminate at the Festivals, bringing people of diverse ages and backgrounds together in a celebration of the arts and science.

One of the things that's special about festivals in Cheltenham is the stunning Regency architecture and backdrop of the Cotswolds hills.

Julian Dunkerton, Superdry Co-founder and Entrepreneur has been investing in Cheltenham's visitor economy for more than ten years and 2020 will see the opening of his fourth boutique Regency hotel with the refurbishment of The George in St Georges Road. The Lucky Onion Group, which he owns with his wife, fashion designer Jade Holland Cooper, epitomises Cheltenham festival spirit and style.

He said: "Cheltenham's festivals have evolved enormously over the past number of years and are incredibly important in stimulating growth in tourism and the regional economy.

"As a Cheltonian and an entrepreneur, my goal is to play a supportive role in putting Cheltenham on the map.

"This exciting re-brand to establish Cheltenham as the festival town of the UK is a key turning point for the region.

"With an ever-expanding array of festival, there is an appetite and a clear vision to really catapult Cheltenham to the forefront of the nation as the festival town of the UK"

The new branding will be rolled out across all of the Visit Cheltenham digital channels.

All partners and associates in the visitor economy will have access to photos, text and a new video that they can use to sell the town's story.

Any business who would like to get involved in the campaign to promote Cheltenham to the world should get in touch with Marketing Cheltenham via marketing@marketingcheltenham.co.uk 

For more information on Marketing Cheltenham visit marketingcheltenham.co.uk 

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