In 2015, Hertfordshire Council and Local Enterprise Partnership established Visit Herts, a campaign intended to unite and simplify the county’s fragmented tourism sector and promote growth in the region. Kada was asked to conduct an independent evaluation of the programme, reviewing its activities and impact, and making suggestions for the future. Our evaluation was made particularly complex when COVID-19 struck partway through our review, devastating the tourism industry in Hertfordshire and the rest of the world. We therefore evaluated the effectiveness of the campaign whilst taking the pandemic into account, considering how Visit Herts could best support the industry in getting up and running again.
We undertook an analysis of performance data and the project context, spoke to staff, representatives and those involved in the project delivery, and interviewed some of the tourism businesses involved. The programme delivered clear successes, particularly in running networking events and in boosting its social media presence. It was far more coordinated than similar previous projects and has made substantial progress. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Visit Herts has proactively supported the recovery of the sector. The LEP Board wanted to know whether the project should continue to be funded. Based on performance, the report recommended that it “makes sense to grant an extension to the current contract to allow the Team to build on the momentum gained, offer investors, funders, and partners continuity, and help firms to recover”.
The evaluations of our programmes are essential to demonstrate the impact and value for money of our investments. We enjoyed working with Kada on an assignment that delivered this base objective, but exceeded our expectations with the level of insight it provided, by benchmarking our activity against others and providing practical continuous improvement ideas.
-Tim Burton (ERDF Projects Facilitator, Herts LEP).
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