Challenges facing tourism in the South West under the spotlight16th January, 2017
The challenges facing tourism in the South West are under the spotlight in a conference on Friday this week, staged by the South West Tourism Alliance.
The Alliance is using the event to collect further evidence for the Rural Tourism enquiry which was launched by Government in Autumn last year and is chaired by Tiverton MP, Neil Parish. The Alliance represents over 6000 businesses across the South West.
Chair of the Alliance, Alistair Handyside said: " The South West is undisputedly the centre of of tourism after the capital and we are keen to do all we can to promote our region to both UK and international visitors. But it is facing unprecedented challenges. From extreme weather incidents to poor infrastructure, cuts to funding and lack of maintenance for some of our key assets like our coastal paths, the industry is trying to overcome some significant hurdles. Recent business rate rises have caused great disruption; the lack of parity across the area means some businesses will fail - they just cannot sustain these sort of increases in this financial climate.
"We are keen that we work together and with Government to try and manage the situation but we are also clear that in some cases, the Government must take the lead. Issues such as better connectivity with our road, rail, broadband and mobile networks will pay huge economic dividends and help our sector compete on a level playing field. The South West has yet to see the sort of investment that is going into other areas and we will be using this event to make that point very strongly to Government."
The conference is on Friday at the Tiverton Hotel from 0900 and can be booked through http://bit.ly/2izDA6t
Speakers include Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs Committee, Sally Balcome, Chief Executive of Visit England and Esther Pearson, Chief Executive of South West Coast Path. Esther will be launching the Discover England Fund promotion which will promote the South West to European markets through Visit England.