An Experience Oxfordshire-led initiative, supported and backed by OxLEP, to position Oxfordshire amongst the top destinations to visit for business and leisure has been launched.
The new 'The Oxfordshire Welcome' initiative comes on the back of the revival of the county’s visitor economy following the severe and lasting impacts of the global pandemic. It has been designed in acknowledgement of the operational challenges faced by the sector and potential visitors’ need for reassurance when booking experiences.
Businesses joining the initiative align themselves with 14 pledge-points, confirming their commitment to delivering customer service levels embracing inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability, which together form The Oxfordshire Welcome.
A logo has been developed to signify the pledge and will feature on participating business’ websites and publicity.
Commenting on the rationale behind the initiative Hayley Beer-Gamage, Experience Oxfordshire’s CEO, said: “Research from VisitBritain over the last year, both in this country and from overseas, shows common themes influencing visitors’ choice of destination. Customer service and the quality of the welcome they can expect is hugely important as are specific elements such as flexibility to alter plans, regard for sustainability and access for all. These issues when viewed holistically are all part of good customer service.
"The Oxfordshire Welcome pledge offers businesses the opportunity to show their commitment to providing great customer service and for visitors to feel confident in the reception they’ll receive and in the quality of experience they will enjoy in our county.”
Experience Oxfordshire Board Member and CEO of Blenheim Palace, an early adopter of the pledge, Dominic Hare said: “Ensuring our visitors feel welcome and at home is our highest priority here at Blenheim. Our guests arrive from all over the world with their own expectations and needs, so it’s important that the Blenheim team recognise each of those 800,000 visitors we greet each year as individuals. We fully endorse The Oxfordshire Welcome.”
Experience Oxfordshire’s work in creating and developing The Oxfordshire Welcome is part of a series of strategic activity commissioned by OxLEP under the Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme (VERP), which supports the sector’s ongoing re-emergence from Covid-19. Funding for the programme was secured via Oxfordshire County Council’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund.
Helen Ryan-Wallis, Programme Manager, Strategy, from OxLEP said: “In the aftermath of Covid, business across the county stepped up to ensure visitors felt safe and welcome. The Oxfordshire Welcome builds on that legacy, taking into account the concerns of current and future visitors. We would urge all businesses in Oxfordshire associated with the visitor economy to show their support for the sector and commit to this initiative.”