Winchester City Council and local and regional attractions and businesses have joined forces with an award-winning local PR professional to boost visitor numbers to the Winchester district, and support the industry’s recovery following the effects of the pandemic.
Discover Winchester – a partnership that is led by Winchester City Council and includes the likes of Winchester Cathedral, Marwell Zoo and Hampshire Cultural Trust – has employed Miranda Rocksmith to help raise the profile of the ‘vibrant, ancient and cultured’ city and surrounding district.
Miranda, who lives and works in Winchester, has run her own PR business, Rocket Launch, here since June 2005. She has over 25 years of experience in PR and marketing and was last year made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the industry. Miranda will work with members of the partnership to increase footfall to the district, to levels achieved pre-pandemic. Together they will shine a light on the district, including its thriving arts and culture scene, abundant heritage, interest in local food and drink, historic market towns and unspoilt countryside.
Winchester’s popularity has grown over the past decade, with visitors drawn to the city’s history (the first capital of England, home to King Arthur’s Round Table and Winchester College); food offer (with its plentiful food markets and celebrity-run restaurants); as backdrop to popular TV series and movies (The Crown, The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter); and entrance to the South Downs. Lovers of writers Jane Austen and John Keats – who both spent time in Winchester – follow in their footsteps; visitors of all ages enjoy the wide-range of festivals that run throughout the year (from Winchester Fashion Week, the Chilli and Cheese Festival, to Hat Fair – the UK’s longest festival of Outdoor Arts); and Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe.
Miranda is returning to work with the partnership following a break during the pandemic. She has previously secured coverage in national and regional newspapers and magazines; worked with high-profile travel bloggers and social media influencers to boost awareness of the city and surrounding areas online; and produced features on Winchester have appeared in the likes of Good Housekeeping, British Travel Journal and a regional airline inflight magazine.
Cllr Martin Tod said:
“Winchester City Council is joining forces with hospitality and tourism businesses and supporting the Discover Winchester consortium to help make sure that local tourism recovers strongly after the lockdown. Getting the word out about all the different things our area has to offer and getting visitors back to our city and district is a vital part of our plan for a strong recovery.”
Speaking about the chance to work with Discover Winchester again, Miranda said:
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to share my love of Winchester with new audiences to attract a wide variety of visitors. I’m also looking to entice returning visitors back to the district as it becomes a vibrant and welcoming destination again.”
Discover Winchester hopes that residents and families will be encouraged to rediscover what’s on their doorstep and support local attractions and homegrown businesses; with ‘virtual Winchester’ experiences hosted so that potential visitors can explore the city and districts from their home now, with a view to planning a visit for the future. The Winchester district will be promoted as an ideal place for quality short breaks too, for domestic visitors – at a time when overseas travel restrictions are still in place and with sustainable travel a hot topic – as well as for international holidaymakers in the longer term. Plus, it will be a destination for local visitors looking for meaningful and enriching days out or a place to go to reconnect and spend time with family and friends.
Five years ago, Winchester was voted the ‘Best Place to Live in the UK’ in a Sunday Times poll and the city and surrounding districts have welcomed over 5m visitors each year, generating over £358 million for the local economy.*