“Gloucester is a city on the up and it is now really going places”, was the positive message to Gloucestershire business people.
Addressing a Business West networking breakfast of the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce, Marketing Gloucester’s chief executive, Jason Smith, said:
“Gloucester is a city on the up. We are beginning to see a real sea change here - there are diggers everywhere.”
And the president of the Gloucester Chamber, Mark Boyce told the meeting:
“Today is a good indication of the way Gloucester is growing and progressing. We are going places and you can see the momentum building.”
Jason Smith said an extra 1900 jobs had been created in the city over the last four and a half years from the tourism initiatives and events like the Tall Ships - created and run by Marketing Gloucester.
He added: “The city is holding its own in terms of retail footfall and our events have had a lot to do with that. Last year, we overtook Cheltenham with our number of tourists.
“Gloucester is now the premier tourist attraction in terms of the conurbations in this county. We can increase that by putting on more of these events and it is fact that tourism to the city has created an extra 1900 jobs in the last four and a half years.”
Jason said there had been great enthusiasm for the city’s BID (Business Improvement District) by companies in the city centre with over 700 interviews conducted to ask businesses what they would like to see happen over the next five years.
He told the breakfast at Bill’s in The Quays: “Gloucester is now recognised as the 11th most safe place in the country.
“It is the fourth in the country for the best type of customer service and the second friendliest city in the country.
“But it is number 1 according to a survey for community spirit, and that is indicative as to where Gloucester is at the moment.”
Voting by businesses in the city centre to secure the BID continues until the end of June. Jason said that the cash contributions by local businesses to become part of it could be as low as a decent cup of coffee a week.
“One of the things built into the BID business plan is for 200 hours a week of registered security guards on the streets of the city”, said Jason. ”They will have real powers to ensure we have safe streets.”
Mark Boyce said that his hundred Chamber of Commerce members were fully behind the BID, and that businesses joining would be offered free membership of the Chamber for a year.
He commented: ”The initial scepticism has now faded away for the fiscal and social regeneration of Gloucester and we are only part of the way on our journey.
“The Chamber is fully supportive of the Gloucester BID. We see this as the next critical step in the development of our city centre."