Visit England has today 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.

The bid for accreditation was led by Vince Flower, Chair of Visit Devon, plus partners from across the county including 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.

Quote from Andrew Stokes, Director at VisitEngland.

“The Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEP) programme is transforming the visitor economy landscape in England, supporting its growth in a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable way and I am delighted to welcome this new LVEP.

“Working together, the LVEPs are simplifying our tourism landscape, ensuring England continues to be a compelling destination for both domestic and international visitors. As Devon is established as an LVEP, VisitEngland will provide ongoing support including a dedicated regional lead.” 

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.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: “Devon is one of Britain’s finest tourism destinations and this new accreditation will enable all partners to work closely with Visit England to develop and promote what we have to offer visitors to Devon. Tourism is vital to our county’s economy and making the most of that year-round can help support growth and jobs in Devon.”

Richard Stevens, LEP Board Director and Chair of Destination Plymouth, said: “This accreditation is just the beginning of a ‘step change’ in partnership working across Devon. There is strong support for a new approach and the successful application is down to the hard work and commitment of those involved in the detail of the process. LVEP status will provide us with the opportunity to take part in national development and marketing activities with VisitEngland, which could unlock funding for marketing campaigns, destination development, data and insights, and business support with training. Most importantly, at a local level, there is now an accredited strategic lead for the visitor economy that is representative of the public and private sector and aligns delivery for the long-term benefit of the region.”

Chris Hart, Chair of the English Riviera BID Company, Torbay, said: ”We are absolutely delighted that the Devon LVEP application has been successful and are looking forward very much to continuing to work in partnership to promote the Devon brand worldwide and improve our customer experience. Our thanks go to everyone involved to make this milestone happen which will facilitate rebuilding our hugely valuable visitor economy. The English Riviera BID Company has very much enjoyed being part of the LVEP development process and will continue to play an active part in the long term as we start a very exciting new era for tourism across Devon.”  

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.”