Plotting a course for visitors beyond Mayflower


Plymouth’s vision to bring more visitors flocking to the city over the next decade are being outlined in a high level plan to be discussed at Cabinet.

With a stacked programme of events lining up for Mayflower 400 in 2020 including the opening of the city’s Box cultural attraction, the city’s tourism leaders are now looking past Mayflower to the horizon beyond to plot a course for continued success.

Destination Plymouth has been in discussion with key stakeholders to agree principles for a refreshed visitor plan which builds on the significant progress made and sets out priorities for the next decade.

Tourism is one of Plymouth’s big success stories. Over the last decade tourism has seen visitor numbers and spending power grow by over 20 per cent.  Around 5.1 million visitors make a trip to the city every year spending £347 million. Today tourism employs over 8,000 people.

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “We have what it takes. The job over the next decade is to make sure everyone else knows this and that people think of Plymouth first when they want an experience that marries our magnificent marine environment and maritime heritage with a top place to shop, visit and stay.”

The Visitor Plan sets out how Plymouth can capitalise on its strengths – its stunning blue and green environment – and its culture – to become the country’s premier marine city.

The plan’s high level ambitions state that by 2030:

  • Our national marine park will be globally recognised for amazing experiences by on, in and under the ocean
  • We will be Devon and Cornwall’s premier visitor destination and a top-10 city break
  • We will be known internationally for jaw-dropping art, authentic cultural experiences and our urban spirit

Councillor Evans said: “A concerted push for more visitors with more spending power all year round means higher quality jobs for our residents, better employment prospects, more money in the economy and a sense of pride for Plymouth – this is what we want.”

The plan takes into account a constantly evolving marketplace and new opportunities. 

It states that by 2030 Plymouth will be known as the premier marine park in Europe, attracting visitors from across the globe to award-winning experiences that celebrate Plymouth’s important marine work from research to its fishing industry.   

Emerging ideas include developing Plymouth’s Waterfront as a great place for activities and experiences: by, on, in and under the water

The plan states that by 2030 Plymouth will be recognised as the cultural capital of Devon and Cornwall and a place where everyone can enjoy and take part in engaging and accessible arts.

Events, festivals and significant celebration years will showcase what is distinctive about our city, attracting new markets of visitors – with more spending power. Ideas include realising the huge potential of ‘The Box’ to showcase cultural and creative talent and encourage new audiences to explore heritage, arts and leisure activities

Richard Stevens, Chair of Plymouth Growth Board and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce said:  “Great progress has been made in propelling Plymouth onto the national stage as a desirable tourist destination. Now it is time to double down with a challenging 10 year vision, to be delivered through strong political leadership underpinned by strong public and private sector partnerships.

 “I would encourage city partners, businesses and the tourism industry to get behind the vision and support our work to produce a detailed business and marketing plan over the next eight months before we finalise it in December 2019.”

 The plan says that by 2030 Plymouth will be Devon and Cornwall’s premier visitor destination, a top 10 UK city break and known for our ‘après sea’. Emerging ideas include developing a market as an ‘urban base’ to enjoy modern city centre shopping, leisure and evening and night-time experience e.g. Drake Leisure, Royal William Yard and Millbay.