HAMPSHIRE County Council is to merge its tourism service with Winchester City Council’s.
From April, the Visit Winchester and Visit Hampshire teams will become a shared service.
The intention is that the service eventually becomes an organisation which helps promote Hampshire’s attractions – both those that are run by the councils and those run by private companies.
The new organisation would have responsibility for marketing the county’s attractions and would be led by businesses with the support of the two authorities.
Other Hampshire authorities may join the joint venture at a later date.
Councillor Dominic Hiscock, who is in charge of economic development for Winchester, said: ‘We began to explore the possibilities for more formal collaboration last autumn, after years of successful partnership working with our county council colleagues.
‘It became clear through our initial consultation with businesses that they wanted the support of one, relatively local tourism body – and not the many which exist at present.’
Councillor Ray Ellis, who is in charge of economic development and rural affairs for the county said: ‘By working with the key businesses who already support the Visit Winchester and Visit Hampshire brands, we can create an organisation that enables the tourism industry to play a more active role in how the county is marketed to potential visitors.’
Sean Mannie, chairman of the Discover Winchester PR Consortium, added: said: ‘It’s a time of great change for tourism nationally.
‘The councils are acting swiftly to protect business interests at an otherwise uncertain time for the tourism sector.”
For more information about the new service email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 848219.