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Destination Management Plan September 2013

How we developed the Destination Management Plan 

The Destination Management Plan was developed over a 9 month period and over 60 people - businesses and people working in the public sector - contributed their views and were involved in helping to shape the plan. The DMP was steered by a Project Group of representatives from Thanet District Council, key public agencies and the local industry.

Research was undertaken with Visit Kent to find out more about leisure visitors to Thanet including a survey of the views of people who live and work in the area to help develop the aims of the Destination Management Plan. The DMP was about adding value, not duplicating activity, and contributing to the regeneration and economic development policy for Thanet and Kent

As part of the above activity a new market segment was identified for Thanet and a Shared Story for the destination was developed as a way to describe what is special and different about the place. This is available to everyone to use in their promotion of the area and their business.

DMP flowchart of stages DMP flowchart of stages

The DMP process identified three priority areas for the five years of the plan, alongside additional activities and additional resources to make them happen. The process demonstrated an appetite for tourism industry networks and groups to enable the industry to be involved in the DMP delivery


What we wanted the plan to achieve and how 

Thanet is a well-established visitor destination, known for its sandy beaches and the three coastal towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, each with a distinctive history and personality. It was also starting to attract people from London to live, invest and visit and the aim was to attract more visitors, encourage longer stays and increase spend in the destination. Also to invest in culturally-let tourism regeneration and to support quality.

The plan aimed to achieve the following objectives

  • Deliver quality experiences for existing markets, develop new experiences to grow market share and attract new higher spending visitors looking for short-breaks
  • Present the three towns more strongly together, playing to the strengths of each and making it easy for the visitor to explore along the coast and to get around
  • Invest in the experience of its beaches, Thanet’s strongest natural assets – their development and management
  • Prioritise investment in new quality character accommodation to enable Thanet to grow the short break market - to achieve longer stays and higher spend
  • Make more of its location – the Isle, the big skies, the natural coastline and importantly its proximity to London by high-speed train and the market opportunities that bring
  • Stimulate the environment to encourage investment in new quality visitor attractions, visitor experiences and places to stay.

To get there we would:

ESTABLISH NEW ways of working which are driven by a partnership between the industry and the public sector, where Thanet District Council acts as catalyst, facilitator and partner

Recognise that collaboration across Thanet can build a critical mass of experiences and collaboration with East Kent more widely can open up further opportunities

Tackle some of the barriers to making things happen

Ensure tourism is one of the drivers of the local economy and put steps in place to enable that, including supporting tourism business sustainability, growth and inward investment 

The Big Picture

The DMP took into consideration a range of strategies and policy documents, both local, county-wide and by national bodies such as English Heritage, VisitEngland and the Department for Communities and Local Government, amongst others.


The Priorities of the Plan’s five years

Research showed that visitors were overwhelmingly attracted to Thanet for its beaches and coastline, with it essential the area delivers an excellent quality experience along its coast and invests in the experiences on its beaches and seafront. To attract more visitors and overnight trips, Thanet needed more character places to stay and a wider range of things to see and do during the day and evenings. The headline priorities of the plan over the 5 years were designed to help deliver these priorities:

  • Beach management and development – to deliver a programme of prioritised beach-by-beach improvements, informed and steered by a new Beach Management Delivery Group, and to identify and deliver community and industry-managed beaches that are freely available to everyone and which incorporate the best creative and commercial ideas to enhance quality, protect the environment and deliver new distinctive experiences
  • Coastal regeneration – to make a stronger case for tourism regeneration in specific underused or derelict coastal buildings and target inward investment to those specialist developers who can inject creative solutions and deliver new quality developments – large and small - that reinforce what is distinctive about Thanet and create much needed character accommodation
  • Telling our stories – using the Shared Story developed for the DMP to create a stronger sense of place through a joined-up approach to marketing, information and interpretation, including helping small tourism businesses improve the quality of their marketing through skills development and support. The emphasis is on business engagement, support for the DMP and delivering a consistent quality product. 

Read the full Destination Management Plan here

How the plan’s success was measured

The following indicators were developed to measure the progress and success of the plan .

  • Higher profile of Thanet as a place to visit for quality English coastline and seaside towns
  • Numbers of jobs created and sustained
  • Growth in volume and value of tourism
  • Number of bed spaces and room occupancy
  • Greater community pride and cohesion between the coastal towns
  • Stronger industry and public sector partnerships
  • Greater visitor satisfaction

Plan's Achievements

  • Consultative Group set up to help inform and monitor delivery for the project working groups
  • 16 Beach audits and a Beach Management Plan
  • Beach Business Group set-up with pre and post season meetings
  • Refurbishment of 8 showers with new bases and relocation of 3 showers before the start of the 2017 season
  • New dog warden and litter patrols extended to beaches
  • Schools litter programme, 2-minute beach clean, resources for volunteer cleaning developed
  • 20 lifeguards and 14 bay inspectors undertook Visitor Ambassador training
  • Condition reports completed of coastal toilets, showers, shelters
  • Conducted Ramsgate Beach Club feasibility study
  • Accommodation audit conducted to provide an assessment of tourism accommodation in Thanet, including future development prospects, to help guide an investment strategy for the district
  • Development of Business website
  • Series of training workshops for the industry including marketing, PR and social media