Sacred Britain: agenda for action (2006)

Sacred Britain: agenda for action (2006)

“Making churches and places of worship a ‘must see’ part of exploring Britain’s destinations”

This is the vision for ‘Sacred Britain: Places of Worship and the Tourism Destination Experience – An Agenda for Action‘ – launched at the Churches Tourism Association Convention on Monday 20th November 2006.This ‘agenda for action’ was prepared under the guidance of the national ‘Sacred Britain’ working group, set up in November 2005, involving representatives of churches and tourism interests at national and regional levels. It proposes a marketing framework for the promotion of visits to churches and other places of worship of recognised heritage significance. It also set out a number of priorities for action over the next three years (2007-2009).

Although now past its ‘sell by date’, the report’s insights and strategic aims may still be regarded as relevant to the planning of new projects. The strategic aims were:

  • To increase the number of people who are able to visit and enjoy engaging with the cultural inheritance of Britain’s churches and places of worship;
  • To achieve an inclusive approach, including more visitors from socially excluded backgrounds (with reference to DCMS targets) and multi-faith cooperation; and
  • To attract increased appreciation of, and support for, maintaining the cultural inheritance amongst visitors, tourism organisations and heritage agencies.

Action was proposed at national, regional and local levels, of which the following is a summary. Whilst some of these points have been actively pursued by CTA and other initiatives in particular areas, most may still be regarded as having scope for further action:

  • Adopt an experience-oriented approach to audience development, access and marketing based upon up-to-date research into visitor/non-visitor characteristics. The proposed tourism brand proposition is to promote a visitor experience that is ‘authentic, welcoming and rewarding’.
  • Seek improvements in online data content and its distribution, improving access to information about places of worship open to visitors and catering for a range of visitor interests and themes.
  • Promote collaboration in heritage events and other actions to raise the profile of places of worship within tourism destinations.
  • Provide ‘best practice’ guidance for visitor welcome and volunteer development and establish clear quality criteria for sites to be promoted within the ‘Sacred Britain’ initiative and campaigns.
  • Encourage the formation of area-wide ‘sacred heritage’ tourism partnerships using best practice principles and resources.
  • Seek support for a national project officer to facilitate the formation of ‘sacred heritage’ tourism partnerships and to co-ordinate marketing and access actions at national level.

sacredbritain_strategy 2006