Discount cards for locals

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Conwy Castle

According to the BBC, in the North Wales county of Conwy, council officials are suggesting that people living there should be given a discount on local attractions.

The logic behind the idea is that such a discount would encourage locals to visit council or national body attractions at off-peak times and thus support tourism all year-round. Such an idea isn’t new but it isn’t widespread. I am not suggesting this goes as far as privately run attractions but when we – as taxpayers – are funding bodies like English Heritage, Historic Scotland, CADW, Dúchas and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency why, locally, can we not get a benefit? But if some local, privately run attractions want to participate so much the better.

I do not understand why locals shouldn’t get discounted or even free entitlement. It happens in some places and that includes discounted parking on beachfront car parks. I suppose the big argument against it is that attractions, local authorities and destinations might lose money. That’s a hard argument to counter until you have actually implemented such a scheme. But when a scheme is set up you do find a greater number of visitors. You hope that what they save on admission they will spend on drinks and snacks, souvenirs or even by placing a donation in the boxes left around for that purpose.

Just as when are national museums were made free at the turn of the millennium and saw greater visitor numbers, so the same will happen when local discounting happens. Holidaymakers and visitors to the town will still pay. But residents will be be getting an additional benefit for the council taxes they pay, the sites will receive additional visitors and locals will have a better appreciation of their local heritage.

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