Politicians and tourism

By | Category: Travel news

You’re invited to vote today

The election today is a UK election. Tourism will not win or lose elections nor will it ignite passions in the hearts of politicians so that they will refuse to join a government or bring it down.

Since tourism is devolved to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales it means that the only country that can be affected by what the political parties say is England. Therefore it does not matter what Plaid Cymru, the SNP, Democratic Unionists, SDLP, Ulster Unionists, Alliance Party or Sinn Fein say because the outcome of this election – for tourism purposes – will only affect England except where VAT is involved. Air Passenger Duty is devolved to Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The only comments in this election that are of relevance are those of the Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP unless a hung parliament occurs and horse-trading takes place between the parties. Even then, it seems unlikely that tourism issues will make or break a coalition.

The Conservatives will continue with HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport. They will also will increase services on our main lines and commuter routes, and launch new services to places which are poorly served or host major new housing projects.

They will maintain free entry to the permanent collections of our major national museums and galleries and introduce a new cultural development fund to use cultural investment to turn around communities. They will hold a Great Exhibition of the  North in 2018, to celebrate achievements in innovation, the arts and engineering. In England, they will extend their  Coastal Communities Fund to 2022, in order to make seaside towns thrive.

For the Greens, there is a commitment to “ensure access to safe, reliable, and affordable public transport” and they want to return the railways to public ownership. They will invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, “especially in the South West and North of England, rather than wasting money on HS2 and the national major roads programme.”

They will cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel.

The Labour Party says that it will support tourism at the heart of government.

It says that it will bring the railways back into public ownership, l cap fares, introduce free wi-fi across the network, end the expansion of driver only operations and introducing “legal duties” to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. They say they will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line and then extend it into Scotland and link HS2 with a Crossrail of the North.

They will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East, complete the Oxford to Cambridge line and will introduce electrification across the whole country, including Wales and the South West. They will also consult with local communities to re-open branch lines.

They will seek advice on developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network, upgrade highways and improve roadworks at known bottlenecks.

It recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East which I take to mean indicates that Heathrow expansion will go ahead as it also indicates that it welcomes the work done by the Airports Commission.

The Liberal Democrats say that they will “strive to retain traveller and tourist benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card, reduced roaming charges and pet passports all of which are at risk by leaving the European Union.” They will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.

On airports, they will remain opposed to any expansion of airports in the south east of England and focus on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. They will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.

Apart from that concentration is on rail. They will establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, HS3 and Crossrail 2 up into Scotland. They will complete the Oxford and Cambridge line and introduce a rail ombudsman to enforce passenger rights.

Finally they say that they will maintain free access to national museums and galleries.

UKIP says that it will reinstate “the classic blue passport when the British passport contract comes up for renewal in 2019.”

It will scrap HS2 and, instead, upgrade existing services, expand electrification and improve east-west rail services across the North of England.

It will create a new Coastal Towns Taskforce to oversee a raft of measures to regenerate them.

It will freeze APD and, when possible, seek to reduce it finally scrapping it altogether.  It hints that it will stop Heathrow expansion and says that UKIP will support the continued expansion of smaller regional airports highlighting the possible use of Manston in Kent as an area for expansion.

Initially if none of these tourism ideas appeal to make you switch your vote then I offer one more manifesto promise that might. The Monster Raving Looney Party will give free woolly hats for all. With the windswept cool weather of the last few days I could have done with one!

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