Visit South Devon and Heart of Devon have announced that they will be merging to create a new umbrella Area Tourism Partnership (ATP).
The formal legal merger will complete by the end of September. Visit South Devon and Heart of Devon will retain their existing identities and websites until a combined website is launched in December.
The merger is designed to cut overheads and costs after Exeter City Council announced plans to end their financial and staffing support for Heart of Devon to focus on the promotion of the city.
The focus of the ATP will be to increase the number of day visits, short breaks, longer holidays and business trips to Mid Devon, East Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and South Hams.
A series of social media, marketing and PR campaigns will launch over the coming months to continue driving traffic to www.heartofdevon.com.
The site will be linked to the Visit South Devon website to encourage cross-promotion between the two sites.
The ATP’s new identity will include a refreshed logo and strapline highlighting the strengths of the combined tourism areas and their established brands.
Heart of Devon’s board and Visit South Devon will form a merged board by the end of September ensuring business representation from Mid Devon, East Devon, Exeter, South Hams and Teignbridge.
Heart of Devon members will remain on the existing Heart of Devon website until December, at which point they will be able to transfer free of charge to the merged website.
Tourists searching for Heart of Devon destinations and attractions following the launch of the supersite will be redirected to the merged website.
It will host an expanded portfolio of area destinations, new area content and information about events, hospitality, attractions and dining out.
Chairman of Visit South Devon Stuart Longrigg said: “Reductions in local government and council budgets have focussed ATPs’ attention on how they can best deliver destination marketing with less public funding.
“Working together we will be able to remove the duplication of content and a cross-over of geographic areas that currently exists on both sites. This will reduce confusion for the consumer and will mean that members who currently advertise on both sites will see a saving at renewal time.
“Under the merger, significant cost reductions can be realised enabling more money to be invested in destination marketing, social media campaigns, e-comms, website management and area destination PR. “