‘We must work together more to boost city’s global brand’, says new Visit Bath chairman

July 10, 2018

Visit Bath, the city’s destination marketing organisation, has appointed businessman Craig Jenkins as its new executive chairman, replacing Chamber of Commerce director Ian Bell, whose six-year term of office has now ended.


Mr Jenkins, pictured, who has lived in central Bath for more than 25 years, has a number of business interests ranging from a long-standing, city-based accountancy firm to the world’s largest art foundry and a Norwegian-headquartered international electronics group. 

Speaking as he took up his new role, Mr Jenkins called on all organisations in the city to work together to build on Bath’s “global brand”.

“There are still times when the council, residents, local businesses and interest groups do not work together as they should,” he said.


He added that he wanted to work with the city’s vibrant visual and performing arts as well as with its burgeoning creative media sector.


“We should be aware of Bath’s heritage, but it is our duty to promote the city as it is now, a cosmopolitan city, full of creativity, culture and the arts,” he said, pointing out that the organisation’s new website was already promoting the city in more modern way.


Its recently-launched Unexpected Bath mini campaign, which highlights the quirky and more unusual side of the city, makes use of extensive social media to target millennials and students – audiences Visit Bath has never directly targeted before.

Visit Bath, which also operates the city’s Christmas Market – one of the most successful in the UK – is owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council (BANES) and is funded by a mixture of public and private investment.


Mr Jenkins, who joined the Visit Bath board last year as a director, said he wanted to build on the success of the Christmas Market – which last year boosted the city’s economy by a record £40m – by hosting events in spring and summer.


In his vision for the organisation, which he set today, he said: “Visit Bath has seen many positive changes recently, including a new office and Visitor Information Centre, and we now have an excellent and creative team in place,” he said.


“I am delighted to be taking up this role at a time when Visit Bath has so many new opportunities to promote Bath and North East Somerset. At a time of austerity, when all public services have had to take their share of cuts, I aim to ensure that we will still deliver the best possible service on a reduced budget, and so I would like to see us connect with people and organisations in a more effective way.


“Over recent years we have developed strong, strategic partnerships and we are now well positioned to forge new partnerships that will benefit all our stakeholders and help us to promote the area nationally and internationally.


“I am keen to engage more with the visual and performing arts as well as with the growing creative media sector in our area. Our new website is already helping to promote Bath in a much more modern way and I believe that embracing digital technology is essential to how we provide information and services to residents, visitors, local businesses and members.


“I am keen to revisit our membership packages so that they become more attractive, coherent and supportive of the new, enhanced marketing strategy. With a new website and marketing strategy now in place, it is essential that our membership packages and advertising opportunities better reflect the wider range of marketing possibilities available to our members.


“I would like Visit Bath to build on the successes of Bath Christmas Market by hosting and managing more events in the city and surrounding areas throughout the spring and summer.


“And we must continue to widen and deepen the Bath experience for visitors, with more facilities, and attractions in the city and surrounding area. Bath is already a global brand but we must not become complacent.


“There is a great deal of cooperation in the city and the surrounding area already, but there are still times when the council, residents, local businesses and interest groups do not work together as they should. I am keen to build and enhance the connections between these people and organisations, because by working well together we can make Bath great.”


Mr Jenkins’ business interests include 23 years as finance director of Pangolin Editions, the world’s largest art foundry based near Stroud and which cast Damien Hirst’s 20m (66ft) tall Verity bronze sculpture overlooking the sea at Ilfracombe pier, 18 years as co-owner and managing director of the international electronics group Megacon, which has bases in Norway, Denmark and Cornwall, and 31 years as owner and managing director of Bath and Stroud-based regional accounting and consultancy firm TSL.


He is also actively involved with several local charities, is a founding trustee of Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation, which has opened an arts centre, gallery and coffee bar in rural Uganda, and a trustee of Bath’s 44AD artspace and gallery.


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