In the wake of the London Olympics and Paralympics Games, Visit England, the UK National Tourism Board, has conceptualized new guidelines for their Purple Flag Week campaign, the annual UK after hours event, which was launched in 2009. This week is designed showcase the diversity and quality of hospitality businesses during the evening hours in an effort to boost tourism and night time economy (NTE) in the UK. Purple Flag Week is held from the 22nd to the 30th September each year.
Together with Visit England, the Association of Town and Center Management (ATCM) have released new guidelines for Purple Flag Week for all hospitality businesses in Purple Flag areas. The new guidelines can help support hospitality businesses ranging from micro-enterprises to corporate hospitality businesses in the UK who want to promote their cities and help them to become purple flag destinations.
According to Visit England’s CEO, James Berresford, now is the best time to get involved in the event, since the successful London Olympic Games has wet the country’s appetite in terms of cultural and sporting events which are supporting later opening hours by bars, shops and restaurants. He says, “The night time economy provides us with a huge opportunity to grow tourism in our country and make our cities and towns some of the most exciting in the world.”
For many years, the night hours in most UK cities and towns have been condemned as dangerous, with many evening entertainment, cultural and arts establishments suffering the consequences. The NTE aims to change this negative perception, which is where the idea for the Purple Flag came from. The initiative’s goal is to get hospitality businesses to see the immense opportunity that the evening and night time hours provide, and get involved.
The idea already has merit, with Liverpool seeing impressive results from their arts and culture Light Night Festival. This night time offer is already legendary drawing people from all over the world to experience the safe, fun-filled night life that Liverpool offers as a Purple Flag destination. During 2001, Liverpool attracted 17,500 visitors and experienced an economic boost of £250,000. Another case study is the Museums at Night week-long festival which was held during May this year in 416 venues across the UK. Various other destinations through the UK have improved their economy during Purple Flag Week. In Newcastle Gateshead, the economy was improved by £53 million over a 6 month period, during a trial of promotions, extended hours, evening arts and culture activities, and festivals.
Purple Flag Week offers visitors and locals a “better night out” and just as a blue flag beach is the indication of a high quality beach, the purple flag indicates where you can go out and have a good time after hours in the UK. These cities and towns are accredited and recognized as having high quality management at night. Currently, there are 31 cities and towns with a purple flag status and it is hoped that many more will areas will get involved once they see the positive results achieved.
The Chairman of the Purple Flag Board, Philip Kolvin, said in a recent interview with Big Hospitality that “With the support of the police, Government, local hospitality businesses, and our sponsors, the Purple Flag initiative is effectively changing people’s negative perception of our urban areas at night and helping to create and celebrate the diversity, quality and vibrancy on offer in our towns and cities.”
Kolvin’s thoughts come at a pivotal time, with the aftermath of the Olympics expected to contribute towards a boost in team building and hospitality events in London and the rest of the UK.
To enhance the credibility of this event even more, Olympic bronze medalist, Helen Richardson, vice-captain of the women’s hockey team, has launched the 2012 Purple Flag week in Nottingham along with Paralympic gold medallist, Richard Whitehead, who ran in the 200m T42 finals.
Whitehead said in a recent press conference, “I am delighted to be helping Nottingham to launch Purple Flag week as well as helping local people to celebrate that their city has been given the seal of approval from the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) for continually improving cleanliness and safety in the city after dark.”
Thanks to the Olympic Games, the UK has become a highly popular destination during the day and night, and various night markets, safe concerts and interesting evening festivals, along with extended hours throughout the hospitality sector are set to make this year’s event even more successful than before.
This helpful article was provided by Rob Spaul at Team Tactics.