Hotel Solutions completed a study in January 2015 for the East Leicestershire Local Action Group to assess the potential for tourist accommodation development in the East Leicestershire LEADER Area. The purpose of the study was to guide the allocation of LEADER funding to help increase and enhance the supply of tourist accommodation in East Leicestershire. The study included email and telephone consultations with the relevant officers of the District and Borough Councils and Leicestershire’s destination management organisation Leicestershire Promotions; a review of relevant tourism and economic development strategies; a detailed audit of the current supply of tourist accommodation; a review of extant and pending planning applications for tourist accommodation development projects; face-to-face and telephone interviews with hotel and visitor accommodation business owners and managers; a review of national trends in rural tourist accommodation development; and a survey of land and property owners co-ordinated through the NFU and CLA. The study identified potential for further hotel provision in the market towns of Market Harborough and Lutterworth, alongside opportunities across the area for boutique inns and restaurants with rooms; 5 star and boutique B&Bs; luxury holiday cottage complexes with leisure facilities; eco lodge parks; large holiday cottages for family and friend groups; the upgrading and expansion of existing touring caravan and camping sites; camping pod developments; and glamping sites.
The study recommended a more strategic and proactive approach to the allocation of LEADER funding through a focus on supporting 10 priority tourist accommodation development projects that will deliver the greatest benefits in terms of new employment and additional visitor numbers. It also recommended a programme of support for smaller tourist accommodation development projects in terms of advisory workshops and marketing skills training.