How many tourist boards do we need?

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Destinations compete for our business. At home, Blackpool wants us to go there rather than Skegness; Majorca wants our business rather than Menorca and Florida would prefer us to visit Disneyworld rather than California’s Disneyland.

But at the level above this Visit England wants us to holiday there rather than in Wales; Spain wants us to visit their attractions rather than go to neighbouring Portugal and the US wants our business rather than their border partners of Canada and Mexico. And then the European Tourism Council (ETC) wants us to visit Europe rather than succumb to the promotions of…?

Yes, there is a body tasked by the EU to attract those outside Europe to Europe. National tourism bodies spend a portion of their budget supporting the ETC and the European Commission also hands a small amount (in their terms) of money to encourage overseas people to visit Europe. Why? There are towns, counties, regions and countries all supporting tourism bodies. Should we pay or even support yet another? How many different tourism promotion vehicles should there be before some start treading on toes?

This year the ETC will be promoting European gastronomy to the rest of the world. But how do you promote the vastly different foods and delicacies that the whole of Europe has. You can’t cover them all so the ETC has a difficult task ahead. Some parts of Europe will feel left out whether it be lava bread producers in west Wales or artisan bread makers in Greece.

As a writer I hear a very common complaint from small destinations that there national bodies do little for them. They seek me out after general presentations asking not to be forgotten and some are really scathing about what their national tourism organisations do. So if they feel unloved by national tourism bodies, imagine how many feel about the ETC.

And wouldn’t their money be better spent by devolving it to smaller areas where it will probably do more good.

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