Boats on Beer beach
Image credit: Paul Newman

Visit England recently announced that Devon and Partners have achieved a new Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) accreditation for the county.

The status will support a collaboration of local authorities and organisations to promote and manage the growth of Devon’s local visitor economy.

The new LVEP will become part of the national programme managed by Visit England. This portfolio of nationally supported, strategic, and high-performing organisations will provide local leadership in tourism destinations all over the country.

Geri Panteva, Senior Economic Development Officer, Lead on the delivery of East Devon District Council’s tourism strategy, said:

"Gaining accredited Local Visitor Economy Partnership status for Devon is a big win for Devon & Partners.

"At East Devon District Council, we understand the importance of working together to boost our visitor economy. With our Tourism Strategy in place and ongoing support for the East Devon Tourism Network, we are already providing support to a sector very important to our economy and we believe that the new Local Visitor Economy Partnership will create new opportunities for the benefit of the hospitality and tourism businesses across East Devon.

"We're excited about the possibilities that Visit England's accreditation will bring."

The bid for accreditation was led by Vince Flower, Chair of Visit Devon, plus partners from across the county including Destination Plymouth, Visit Devon and English Riviera BID Company with funding support from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Tourism and the wider visitor economy is worth £1.6 billion annually to the Devon economy supporting over 50,000 jobs (9% of employment).

It is estimated that the new structure will enable additional growth in the sector of over £300 million annually going forwards.

The LVEP application, which was submitted in February, was developed through extensive consultation with tourism businesses and local authority partners in the county, facilitated by Tomorrow’s Tourism Ltd, led by Richard Dickinson. The application was approved by a panel of experts at Visit England and visitor economy policymakers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Devon County Council will take on the formal role of ‘Accountable body’ for the LVEP while Amanda Lumley, CEO at Destination Plymouth will act as key contact with Visit England.

Vince Flower, LEP Board Director and Chair of Visit Devon, said:
"We are excited to announce a significant milestone today, with heartfelt thanks to all who contributed, fostering tremendous support during the application process. This application's development benefited from seven months of partnership working, involving input from various organisations, interviews with senior stakeholders, an industry survey with 250 responses, workshops, and discussions with partners in Devon. This development marks a strategic leap forward for Devon, and we look forward to collaborating with partners across the region to ensure its success. Special thanks to Tomorrow's Tourism Ltd for their invaluable assistance. Achieving LVEP status opens doors to national development and marketing opportunities with Visit England, potentially unlocking future funding for initiatives. Crucially, it establishes a trusted lead for the visitor economy, aligning efforts for sustained regional growth."

Richard Dickinson, Tomorrow’s Tourism Ltd, said: “Devon has always been one of England’s most important holiday destinations and perhaps because of this importance local activity has not always been that joined up. The LVEP gives the opportunity for Devon’s visitor economy to be fully connected and pulling in the same direction in a way that will ultimately mean greater benefits for the sector and the County’s wider economy.”