Chief Executive - News and updates

News & Events

Chief Executive - News and updates

The TSE Board of Directors  meet quarterly and receive various reports on both activity achieved and the overall financial performance. The Board decided that it would be useful for the members and partners to also get to know in more detail the range of activity that takes place and, to that end, the Chief Executive’s quarterly updates  will continue to be posted on the website following the respective Board Meetings.

Performance during 18/19

Quarter 1(April - June) to be posted shortly

Performance during  17/18

Quarter 1 (April - June 2017)

Annual Report 2017/18 to be posted shortly

Performance during  16/17

The year that was 2016/17 will, I’m sure, be remembered as one of the most remarkable in recent history, most of it driven by political upheaval that has now been well documented, if not fully understood, so I won’t repeat it here but suffice to say  a ‘new normal’ has emerged!

Tourism South East itself, had a mixed year, seeing significant staff turnover and losing several experienced and long-term stalwarts for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Without doubt this caused some disruption but on the plus side also brought a new energy, perspective and ambition. In the short-term it meant our early aim to stretch targets wasn’t fulfilled and we ended up with a disappointing  deficit position by the end of the year. In the medium to long-term I expect the organisation to return to an upward trajectory through continuing to be relevant and responsive to our member and partner needs.

2016/17 also saw the restructure of VisitEngland, being absorbed into VisitBritain and the launch of the Discover England Fund. However, despite several attempts, we were unable to secure anything from the new Fund, although we played a supporting role in several other bids and successful projects. Hence, we continued to concentrate on providing effective services and support to members and partners and to the industry generally. The success of this approach was evidenced by the robust renewal levels by commercial members and destination partners for 2016/17 and the buy-in from businesses in areas such as Oxfordshire where previous joint arrangements came to an end.

In February 2017, I was extremely pleased to receive, on behalf of TSE, the Destination Marketing Company of the Year 2016 award from UKInbound for our overseas activity. This was a particularly impressive achievement when you consider that the other two in the shortlist were VisitScotland and London & Partners! TSE still remains the ‘go to’ organisation in the South East for international campaigns and group travel promotions but there were also significant achievements in digital and destination PR work and development continued on business tourism activity through the new ‘Meet beyond London’ campaign.

 Our long-term Research Director, Dr Parves Khan left us in October, fortunately  with the research  service in a very healthy state and her replacement provided a fresh impetus and a clear desire to build the visibility and viability further. The Training team consolidated the new courses launched with VisitEngland at the end of 15/16 – particularly Exceeding Visitor Expectations (EVE) and Welcome Afloat – which by the end of the year had also caught the attention of VisitScotland!  After many years we were disappointed to see the end of the contract to administer the New Forest Tourism Association which passed to the newly formed Go New Forest CIC.  

The Coast to Capital LEP released EU funds to support rural tourism in Surrey and West Sussex and I was pleased that we were able to secure two contracts for projects in districts and boroughs in East Surrey.  

The Beautiful South Awards 2016 was the most popular ever, with a 46% increase in entries and an extremely successful Awards event at the Ageas Hilton in November 2016. This is a much appreciated scheme, recognising the best businesses, creating local recognition and publicity and encouraging others.

Please see here for the main activities and achievements during the year:-

Quarter 1  (April - June 2016)

Quarter 2 (July - Sept 2016)

Quarter 3   Oct - Dec 2016)

Quarter 4 (Jan - March 2017)

Performance in 2015/16

In many ways 2015/16 was, as predicted,  a landmark year for Tourism South East. At national level the new Government introduced a 5 Point Plan and made radical changes to the VisitEngland/VisitBritain structure. During the year  funds were made available to specifically support overseas marketing in the North of England and the South West and one (the UK Challenge Fund) which required a bidding process for the whole of England. TSE was fortunate enough to secure some additional funding jointly with London & Partners from the UKCF for a campaign targeting the Nordics. For 2016/17 a three year programme called Discover England was launched but only as a competitive bidding and very limited basis.  In effect, these changes re-enforced the need for a cross boundary, public/private partnership focussed organisation such as TSE and this will be vital to its continued success during 16/17 and beyond.

In addition, many of TSE's core programmes had a successful year - Training Services launched two new courses with Welcome to Excellence, VisitEngland and British Marine and continued to deliver across sectors and even internationally; Group and Travel Trade had the most successful year ever including the Excursions showcase event; International Marketing continued to build marketing partnerships (including with VisitLondon) to promote members and partners in Nr, Europe, China, Scandanavia and North America; our domestic PR coverage for destinations and members again hit record levels; the traffic to the visitsoutheastengland website grew exponentially to an all time high; Research Services  further cemented it's reputation for the delivery of cost effective and professional contract work for a range of public and private sector bodies; with the demise of VisitEngland's resources for visitor information support our Visitor Information Service became increasingly important to those destinations needing advice and other delivery options for front end services; and to top it all the South East businesses and destinations had a fantastic regional Beautiful South Awards followed by it's most successful year in a long time at the National England for Excellence Awards.

The activities and achievements  in 2015/16 are identified in my quarterly reports :-

Quarter 4 - Jan - March 2016 is available here

Quarter 3 - October - December 2015 is available here

Quarter 2 - July - September 2015 is available here

Quarter 1 – April – June 2015 is available here.