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Locate in Kent and Visit Kent contracts up for renewal

Two of the most significant contracts to attract money into the county’s economy are being put out to tender as the cloud of Brexit brings with it major challenges for both successful bidders.

Both inward investment services, currently held by Locate in Kent, and visitor economy services, held by Visit Kent, are due to renew within the next 12 months.

Locate in Kent's Gavin Cleary
Locate in Kent's Gavin Cleary

And with Brexit now just a month away, it is an uncertain future landscape both will have to compete within.

Kent Business understands both agencies which currently hold the deals will seek to secure the contracts again - but they are expected to face competition during the tender process.

Both the Locate in Kent and Visit Kent agreements are due to expire in April.

Deirdre Wells, CEO of Visit Kent, said: “Whilst the re-tendering of the KCC tourism contract will be a fully open and competitive process, Visit Kent will be bidding to secure the new contract, in order to build on the considerable success which we have achieved in recent years.

“Having recently succeeded in our ambition, which was set at the outset of the last contract, to secure five million extra visitors and 50,000 new jobs,we are looking forward to working with businesses across the county to take that ambition still further, generating £5billion for the visitor economy by 2025.

Deirdre Wells, CEO of Visit Kent
Deirdre Wells, CEO of Visit Kent

“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it will be more important than ever to have a strong and robust tourist board, with experience of strong bilateral relations with our near European neighbours, and a well-recognised national and international profile, to ensure that our vibrant visitor economy continues to go from strength to strength.”

The deal for tourism will be worth £280,000 a year from KCC coffers, with Visit Kent normally pulling in around an additional £1m from other partner organisations include the local district councils and tourism businesses.

Kent County Council will consider the bids for the two key contracts
Kent County Council will consider the bids for the two key contracts

The KCC contribution is the same as the existing contract.

Locate in Kent, if successful, will pocket a contract worth £4.34m over the five years - funded primarily by KCC but also Medway Council.

A spokesperson confirmed Locate in Kent “will take part in the procurement process for the forthcoming contract”.

Both were praised for the “impressive momentum” by KCC officers.

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