Gobbledegook and Tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The tourism minister, John Penrose, said last week that local tourist boards are being changed. What he actually said – and I need to quote this because I don’t understand much of it – is “we are engaged in a recalibration and reorganization of local tourist boards-destination management organizations, to use the jargon-which are being refocused to become more private sector-led. Perhaps this should be nominated for the “Can’t People Speak in English Awards”
Only tourism professionals talk this gobbledegook and I’m not sure how many of them understand it. What it boils down to is that the government is expecting the private sector to promote itself and the UK. Is this a bad thing? Will this be of any benefit to us as visitors?
At present all I see is indecision in tourism because those that run destinations don’t quite know what is happening. Others are trying to set up groups to promote themselves based on examples they have found. For example, Pembrokeshire Tourism is a group of tourism businesses throughout the county., It isn’t run by the local county council and is separate from Visit Wales. There are about 500 members who all pay from £50 per annum depending on what they want. In the Borders, there is a similar private group, Borders Tourist Board which is independent of Visit Scotland’s Scottish borders area. Why did they set up? To promote their businesses and, therefore, attract tourism to the area. Why not just rely on Visit Scotland? Maybe they are being far sighted in knowing that they can’t just rely on government and qangos.
In England, one of the first tourist destination to feel the squeeze was Shakespeare Country, that area of Warwickshire that traded on the Stratford-upon-Avon man. Individuals are creating a new members organisation to promote the area.
So this is why you might not find the brochures when you look for them. Or they might be old ones. When will the minister complete his “recalibration” so people can sort things from the mess that tourism finds itself in? The questions and answers in the House of Commons last week didn’t really add much to what was said the previous week. And when will he start speaking English?

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