Playing Politics With Tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings

When you plan for a holiday one of the first things you might do is contact the local tourist board and ask for advice, some brochures and suggestions on where to stay. So if you are thinking of holidaying or visiting Lincolnshire you would look at the Visit Lincolnshire website as a start. Well if that’s what you are thinking do so quickly because it looks as though there will be no Visit Lincolnshire after the end of March.
Because Lincolnshire County Council voted last December to cut all its funding, some £268,000. And because the local regional development agency is being closed, their funding of about £400,000 ceases as well. The council says it has to make cuts of 25% across all its services and therefore, why should tourism not take its share as well. So give or take a bit, Visit Lincolnshire should be left with about £200,000 for 2011. Except that it isn’t and now they have called in the administrators to wind the tourism promotion body up. The cuts aren’t due to be ratified by the council till its February meeting. You could argue then that winding up Visit Lincolnshire is precipitous; they could have waited till after the meeting. But if the council isn’t going to give it to Visit Lincolnshire is anyone going to get it? Will the individual towns and cities get it based on some formulae conceived by accountants? Will it go to areas that put the best cases?
The councillor in charge of tourism, Eddy Poll said last December that, “The council is fully committed to developing tourism in Lincolnshire…” so what is he – or the council – suggesting? So far, information has been in short supply. If they are suggesting some sort of public/private partnership be set up to claim the money (which seems to be the governments preferred idea) then why aren’t they saying so? They aren’t giving existing staff or tourist attractions, hotels or other bodies much time to arrange anything.
Last week, CD-Traveller wrote that the tourism minister, John Penrose said that there is a fund of £1.4 billion available for tourism. Has the council or Visit Lincolnshire applied for any of this? Or does it plan to?
And as for us visitors? Without advertising will fewer of us go? Without knowing what is on, will we remember from years past and still turn up?

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