New tourism company to be set up after collapse of Visit Cambridge and Beyond

A new tourism company for Cambridge will be established to attract more visitors to the city after Visit Cambridge and Beyond collapsed last year.

Approval has been given for Visit Cambridge to be established as a community interest company (CIC), independent from Cambridge City Council, following the closure and liquidation of the former company in July 2020.

Visit Cambridge will attract more visitors to the city
Visit Cambridge will attract more visitors to the city

In January 2016, the council-run tourism service was transferred under a formal business transfer agreement to Visit Cambridge and Beyond.

According to council documents, the company was unable to “generate sufficient income” to achieve “financial sustainability”.

The city council, Cambridge BID, Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprises Ltd and King’s College acquired the liquidated intangible assets of the company, including its web domain name and brand identity, for £42,000.

The council report said the role of Visit Cambridge will, in the short-term, be to “support the recovery and sustainable development of the city’s tourism sector” and to “market and promote the city and represent the city’s tourism sector locally, regionally, nationally and internationally”.

The council’s environment and community scrutiny committee agreed last Thursday (October, 7) to establish Visit Cambridge as a CIC.

But the physical tourist information base is not due to reopen, with a “mobile unit” proposed instead.

A council report said: “Taking the learning from VCB (Visit Cambridge and Beyond) and its associated unsustainable business model, Visit Cambridge’s approach is to operate as a lean and agile organisation with minimal overheads, ie office, staff etc.”

“Rather than investing in the development and running of a ‘bricks and mortar Visitor Information Centre, Visit Cambridge is working with the council to procure a mobile unit with ‘pop up’ functionality.”

Cllr Olaf Hauk said he “welcomed” the idea of a mobile information centre, but said he would still like to see a fixed location for the service, raising the suggestion of that it could utilise a market stall.

It has now been delegated to the director of neighbourhoods and communities to complete the practical, financial and legal matters to establish the Visit Cambridge CIC.

Read more

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