It is always good to be reminded of our city’s incredible heritage assets and I was fortunate enough to spend some time at The Roman Baths following the announcement of a £5million trial to bring superfast 5G to tourist destinations in Bath and Bristol.      

The West of England Combined Authority has secured Government money which will see 5G infrastructure put in place at the Roman Baths as well as the M Shed and in and around We The Curious and Millennium Square in Bristol.

The 5G Smart Tourism bid will allow some exciting mobile technology to be trialled there while its wider and longer-term benefits for the region are looked at. In terms of mobile technology, 5G is set to be the largest step forward offering much faster speeds than 4G.

The trial will look at the wider impact of 5G and how the West of England can become a smart region, using new technology to link up our transport and homes, hospitals and schools. In the meantime the trial will no doubt boost what is already a fantastic experience for people visiting The Roman Baths.

While I was there it was wonderful to see so many tourists from all over the world enjoying their visit. In fact, The Roman Baths’ popularity has been confirmed in figures out today which show visitor numbers increased by more than 100,000; with 1,318,976 people visiting in 2017 compared to 1,216,938 in 2016. This includes daytime visitors to The Roman Baths and restaurant customers in The Pump Room.

The Roman Baths & Pump Room moved up three places to become the 23rd most-visited attraction in the UK, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). Thanks have to go to all the staff there who provide outstanding customer service as well as those who work so hard to preserve and interpret its remarkable heritage.

While tourism plays a vital part in our local economy we are also home to a diverse business community and I was able to find out more about the latest developments at the Bath Business Expo which was held at the Assembly Rooms today. There were more than 100 business taking part and it was a great opportunity for people to meet up and network.