Tourism week celebrations

By | Category: Travel rumblings
bemused cartoon figure

Do we know what we as tourists want? © Dan Sperrin

Today is the beginning of a week-long series of events in Scotland celebrating Scottish tourism.

Worth £11 billion and 8.5% of all jobs in Scotland, this annual week is a way to try and remind the public, opinion leaders and politicians of the importance of tourism.

On Tuesday there was a debate in the Scottish parliament about tourism, yesterday a conference in Glasgow and, for the rest of the week, there will be a series of events.

As far as we, the holidaymakers, are concerned, tonight might be the highpoint because the Scottish Thistle Awards are announced, those awards for which there have been regional finals as reported by Just about Travel a few months ago and now those winners compete for the highest of the awards. As usual, we will be interested in those that reward and respect customer service and satisfaction.

Next week it will be the turn of England to celebrate tourism with their tourism week and in two months, that of Wales. The travel trade will talk about tourism, the politicians will have debates and pat local tourism on the back for the good work that it is doing but what will us holidaymakers hear? Very little. And that is because although tourism is something that probably every single person has been involved in, the crucial players (us ordinary folk) play no role. We aren’t asked our views for some big poll and we don’t have a forum to say what we think.

The travel trade will tell of their moans such as wanting VAT reduced on tourism to bring us in line with our competitors; they will call for APD to be reduced, talk about business rates affecting their future but they will talk as an industry rather than as consumers.

What is that we want from tourism? What do we want from the travel trade and politicians? Do we want more tourist information centres, more transparency about pricing, more public toilets and better grading of accommodation so that it includes more about customer service and staff affability along with reductions in ratings for unhelpful attitudes?

Just like the next person, I don’t know what the majority might want. But until we do know is there any point to continuing holding these weeks?


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