Chester to woo visitors with Festival of Romance

Chester City Council is to launch a domestic and international charm offensive to position Chester as a romantic tourist destination for its second annual Festival of Romance.

The PR campaign for the ten-day February festival will benefit from greater planning time in its second year, enabling it to target long-lead media.

‘We were restricted by magazine lead times in its first year because we only had about 12 weeks and didn’t have a programme until Christmas. This time we’ve had a six-month run at it that will allow us to chase more features,’ said council tourism manager Colin Potts.

First held in 2004 and co-funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency, the festival included 246 events involving about 9,000 observers and participants, but is looking to expand for 2005.

Potts said the media target would be broad to reach a range of age groups: ‘It’s as much about getting people to reawaken their romantic feelings for each other as it is for young people enjoying love for the first time.’

He added that the originality of the romance theme would make it far easier to gain coverage outside travel media than for traditional events such as food and drink festivals, which operate in a more congested market.

‘We’re looking to gain more coverage outside Chester and build the town’s national and international media profile. Chester is in the premiership of UK destinations for international tourism but it’s not necessarily pushing for a champions’ league place just yet,’ said Potts.

Marketing Projects is handling PR for the festival that runs from 4-14 February, and will look to attract sponsorship from firms that traditionally target Valentine’s Day.

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