Todmorden Town Deal Board has commissioned an exciting research study to understand more about why visitors choose to visit Todmorden and how the town can attract more visitors as a destination of choice in the future.

The research is a vital element of the Board’s work as it assesses the final priorities for projects proposed in its Town Investment Plan, recently awarded £17.5M from the government’s Towns Fund. The findings of the study will enable the Board to better support and shape projects within the plan that connect to the town’s visitor economy.

The research underway this week will include face to face interviews over various weekdays and weekends with current visitors to the town, and a wider online survey to explore the needs, motivations and priorities, for example, food and drink, local travel and overnight accommodation, of potential new visitors to the town.

The research will be carried out by York-based experts, Qa Research.

Stephen Curry, Board member said:

“All tourists are visitors but not all visitors are tourists. Visitors include business visitors who spend and invest in the town, friends and family who come for weddings, birthdays, and also attendees and audiences for events like festivals, conferences, educational visits and so on.

We want to understand the potential demand and how we might meet those expectations. Strategically, we are looking to go beyond the existing market for traditional tourists and understand how we can boost our local economy and create employment through the potential of a thriving visitor economy.”

The new study builds on work already undertaken over the last couple of years to explore the town as a ‘destination’. This town-wide collaboration resulted in the development and promotion of the ‘There’s MORe in TodMORden’ brand by local business network, Todconnect.

Councillor Pat Taylor, Town Mayor also runs Two Hoots Cottage Guest House. She welcomes the survey::

“This research is akin to keeping your house in order – planning ahead with good preparation is so important. It enables our visitors to have the best possible time with their requirements met, whatever the reason for their visit.

Looking at what can be improved for visitors in Todmorden, what can bring more visitors and crucially where our visitors stay and how this fits in with our town is a forward step to advancing and thriving.”

Alan Rogers, Interim Chair, Todconnect, said:

“It will be extremely useful for local businesses to understand better the needs of their current customers and clients from outside of the town, and how we as a business community can best meet the expectations of future visitors.

There is potential to be realised for the local economy and we are keen to be equipped and ready to anticipate and meet those demands for the benefit of the town’s economy as a whole.”

Steve Clarkson, Buildings Officer for the local community-owned theatre, Hippodrome said:

“Gaining a greater understanding of the reasons people choose to visit Todmorden will help organisations like the Hippodrome Theatre with our plans for future events and developing new facilities and growth projects.

We attract visitors from a wide area and we are often contacted for suggestions about overnight accommodation, good places to eat out before an event and questions around transport and parking. We often plan new events with limited or no research into what people may be looking for. Knowing the potential level of demand for different types of events would be an invaluable resource and give us the opportunity to branch out and develop our business plan.”

Tony Lawson, Engineering Director, Weir Minerals and Todmorden Town Deal Board Member said:

“Understanding how best we employers and businesses in the town can provide for our visitors, partners and employees, both current and future, is hugely beneficial data which we as a business community can learn and progress from.”