Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP - 12/267 - Bath's #1 Supporter

Bath’s local economy to benefit from tourism funding

August 29, 2023 by Don Foster MP in Don in Bath, News

Don Foster, MP for Bath has welcomed the allocation of £500,000 to Bath from the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Bath’s destination marketing organisation, Bath Tourism Plus, (BTP) is set to invest an additional £1million into promoting Bath and North East Somerset over the next 3 years, as a result of receiving the £500,000 pot. The additional funding will support marketing campaigns which will seek to attract high spending short break and premium shoppers markets and help grow the value of Bath’s visitor economy.

Bath is one of a number of destinations in England that has been allocated additional funds through RGF to support destination marketing campaigns designed to bring new visitor spending and associated jobs to the area. Having already delivered a successful Heritage themed campaign in May, the investment will go on to support Bath’s forthcoming campaigns such as this autumn’s Great Bath Feast and extensive Christmas and Spring marketing activities.

Working closely with partners across the industry, in particular the Bath Business Improvement District (BID), BTP’s Marketing Strategy sets out ambitious growth targets and aims to add an additional £43million into the visitor economy by 2014. In a new collaboration with Bath BID, BTP will deliver marketing campaigns which will see Bath promoted both nationally and regionally through press advertising, digital marketing, and outdoor sites together with an extensive PR programme.

Commenting, Don Foster said:

“This is really great news for Bath. We have seen an increase in British holiday making in recent years and we are always delighted to welcome people from both home and abroad to our wonderful city. The Olympics and Paralympics have been a fantastic advert for Britain across the globe, now this money can be used to ensure that those inspired to visit Britain, visit Bath!”

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive said:

“The RGF money is a huge boost for tourism in England. This project enables our public and private sector partners to work together to stimulate tourism and ultimately grow jobs throughout the country with particular emphasis on some local areas. This is a great time to launch and we hope that by riding on the crest of a wave of a successful London 2012 Olympic Games we will harness the swell of national pride and inspire Brits to take the home advantage and holiday at home this year and beyond.”

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive at Bath Tourism Plus said:

“This investment acknowledges the real value of Bath’s visitor economy and its ability to deliver real economic growth. By producing innovative and effective campaigns, we will be able to realise our ambition of raising the value of day visitors by 9%, growing domestic overnight visitors by the same amount and increasing business event delegates to 169,000, so that by 2014, tourism will be worth £400m to the local economy.”

Andrew Cooper, Bath Business Improvement District Manager said:

“Working in partnership with Bath Tourism, we can ensure that the Bath BID’s resources are maximised and this delivers real value for our levy payers. Collaborative marketing campaigns will promote Bath to our key audiences and will aim to drive additional high spending footfall into the city’s businesses.”


Don appointed Deputy Mayor of the Paralympic Village

Don outside his Deputy Mayoral Office in the Paralympic Village

Don outside his Deputy Mayoral Office in the Paralympic Village

Don Foster MP, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Culture Media, Sport & Olympics and member of the Olympic Board, has been appointed Deputy Mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Village.

Sharing the Deputy Mayor role with Olympian and fellow Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell, Don will support Eva Loeffler, daughter of the founder of the Paralympic Games Ludwig Guttmann, who has been appointed Mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Village.

Don and the Mayoral team have been acting as the ‘figureheads’ of the Paralympic Village since team officials began arriving on 22 August. Key duties include welcoming and hosting international and domestic guests and dignitaries, attending and speaking at Village events and maintaining a visible and accessible presence for both residents and Games Makers.

Commenting Don Foster said:

“It is an honour to be appointed Deputy Mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Village and I’m looking forward to being a part of what I believe will be the greatest ever Paralympic Games.

“I am especially proud given the special affinity that Bath has with the London 2012 Paralympics. With the city hosting the ParalympicsGB team in preparation camps and welcoming the Paralympic Flame on 25 August, I know many Bath residents feel closely associated with the Games.

Seb Coe, Olympic champion and Chair of London 2012 said:

“I am thrilled that Don has accepted our offer to become Deputy Mayor of the Paralympic Village. He has been actively and centrally involved in the London 2012 project since day 1, and has been critical to our success ever since.”

“As part of the Mayoral team, Don will welcome thousands of athletes from around the world to the Village. This is a fitting climax for Don’s London 2012 involvement over the years. His passion for the Paralympics is well-known, and I know he is now a massive fan of Goalball. As his contribution to a sports participation legacy, if he wants a Goalball match afterwards, then all I can say is - Game On, Don!”

Passengers cannot be expected to pay huge rises in rail fares

Don Foster MP has joined Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport, Julian Huppert to speak out against planned above inflation rail fare rises.

The latest inflation figures set July’s RPI at 3.2 per cent. Liberal Democrats in Government want rail fares to come down in real terms but the Conservative party favours a fare rise of RPI+3% which could lead to a 6.2 per cent rise in regulated rail fares in January.

Commenting, Julian Huppert said:

“After Labour raised fares by a crippling 66 per cent in cash terms between 1997 and 2010, Britain has the most expensive railway network in Europe, up to 30 per cent more than our nearest competitors. Astonishingly, they still want to raise fares above inflation.

“The Coalition is, quite rightly, investing more in our railways than any Government since the Victorian era in an effort to sort out the mess we inherited. But we can’t just pass on the cost to commuters

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition, along with the Transport Secretary, managed to negotiate a RPI+1% fare rise for 2012, much lower than planned by some Conservatives.

“But people are struggling to make ends meet against a backdrop of wage freezes and rising utility bills. George Osborne has to realise that people cannot be expected to pay huge rises in rail fares on top.”

Don Foster, added:

“I have long argued that rail fares must be made affordable and I remain concerned that this hike in rail fares will affect Bath’s residents. We are already paying too much and it cannot be justified to continually put up our fares above the rate of inflation”.

“The UK rail fares are the highest in the world and the Bath corridor is no exception to that rule. We need to reduce fares in real terms to get more people out of their cars and on to trains”

“Continued fare rises are bad for passengers, bad for the environment and bad for the residents of Bath.”