Buxton and the Peak District: Attracting Visitors to the Water Festival

Buxton and the Peak District: Attracting Visitors to the Water Festival

Jessica Maxfield (University of Derby, UK) and Peter Wiltshier (University of Derby, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5835-4.ch009

Abstract

This chapter is designed to analyze and interpret the demand from a new and anticipated international visitor market to the small market and spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire. It offers an audience development plan for the newly renovated Crescent Hotel and Spa (CHS). The hotel is currently in the final stages of re-development following a major refurbishment to a culturally important, both environmentally and socially sensitive, icon in Buxton. Benefits to the town include heightened awareness of tourism's contribution, through income from staying visitors and a resultant boost to the incomes of a range of stakeholders in the supply chain. A secondary analysis of two case studies, best practices of Harrogate and Bath, has been considered as these are both similar spa towns. The chapter concludes with several recommendations for the CHS to encourage international tourists to visit and stay a while.
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Background

Buxton is located in the heart of the Peak District National Park and is the oldest and most visited National Park in the UK. Buxton currently caters for; outdoor/ walking tourists, cyclists; as there are many trails within and around the area; day trippers and lastly; wellness tourists as this is a developing tourism segment (Visit Buxton, 2016). Buxton offers a range of activities and has a wide number of accommodation types to meet the demand of many tourism segments (Visit Buxton, 2016; Bill, 2010), however, the CHS will be the first five-star hotel and resort in the area, therefore implying a change to the demand for the town. Buxton has a population of 24,000 people and has a reputation as ‘The Bath of the North’, this is due to Buxton being situated on thermal springs. Each year the town receives 1.3 million visitors, which generates £74 million to the local economy; mostly from food and beverage retailers (High Peak Borough Council, 2012).

Water Festival

The CHS is a grade 1 listed heritage building and renovation work started in April 2016, the work is expected to last for 20 months to restore the whole building. Six months after the start date the pump room was finished and is currently used as a venue for meetings at which the community is updated on the progress of the renovation of the building. Once the renovations are completed this will become the reception area for the visitor centre. The finish date is anticipated to be 2019. The funding for the project has come from various private and public section organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Derbyshire County Council. The hotel itself is built adjacent to thermal springs and will have 80 bedrooms, café, restaurant, shops, visitor centre, tour guides and a spa complex.

The CHS is expected to increase visitor numbers by 7% per annum, create a new upscale market to the town and the creation of a unique selling point for tourism (Buxton and Thermal Spa, 2016). It has created 350 construction jobs plus in-excess of 140 permanent jobs within the hotel. Buxton will become the cornerstone of local growth, a £4.5 million boost to the economy. The adjacent four-star Old Hall Hotel is also being refurbished as part of the project (Buxton and Thermal Spa, 2016).

It has been established that the target market for the CHS is international, this is because this links with the tourism development plans for the area. It has been established that the spa market attracts Japanese (Kamata & Misui, 2015), Chinese and European markets and expected to grow to an estimated worth of £7.57 billion (Mintel, 2011).

The proposed water festival is an annual event will be held during low seasons in the CHS, to highlight the importance of water, the heritage of Buxton and to attract international tourists to the spa (Mackenzie, 2017). The water festival will be designed to highlight to tourists the range of water treatments available and how these have developed over the years. This will be a unique experience and highlight different treatments that would not normally be on offer (Mackenzie, 2017).

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