Tourism expert challenges Buxton to become a world-class destination

27 January 2017

Buxton must take the opportunity offered by the restoration of its historic Crescent to become a world-class destination, former Chief Executive of tourism authority VisitEngland will say when he delivers the University of Derby’s next public lecture in the town on February 22.

Derbyshire-born James Berresford has accepted an unpaid role as the first Chair of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust, set up to safeguard the legacy of the £50 million project to turn the Grade I listed building into the Peak District’s first five-star hotel. 

But if the town is to benefit fully from its economic potential, businesses and local authorities must recognise that in tourism, being world-class is the “new norm”.

James Berresford picture in Bakewell

“Today’s visitor expects the very best. World class is without doubt becoming the new norm,” said James, whose lecture will outline Buxton’s role in the context of world class tourism and challenge the town to examine how to achieve this.

“We have all the ingredients,” he said. “We have the Pavilion Gardens, the Opera House, the Festival, new investment in the Museum, Poole’s Cavern and the links with Chatsworth, to name but a few.

“But unless we stitch these wonderful elements together, we are not going to meet our ambition of being a leading UK destination.”

James was at the forefront of English tourism policy during two of the nation’s most important events: the 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, using them to raise the profile of English tourism both nationally and internationally. As the CEO of VisitEngland, he initiated a multi-million pound tourism campaign, called  ‘Growing Tourism Locally”, and launched a hugely successful Holidays at Home promotion.

The Crescent and Beyond - Modern tourism in the UK: The University of Derby’s Buxton Campus, Devonshire Road, Wednesday, February 22 2017 at 6 pm. The event is free, but booking essential. To book, visit: