No change – Huddleston stays

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Almost ten days ago, Boris Johnson reshuffled his government.

Nigel Huddleston – still the UK tourism minister – amongst other things

As for many of the reshuffles over the last fourteen years I expected to see a new tourism minister.

I was shocked. There was no change. Nigel Huddlestone remained as the minister.

Over many years readers may have become bored with my moans at how ministers there have been during the life of Just about Travel and how it seems that the tourism ministry is neglected as ministers have hardly any time to understand their brief properly.

When he got the job, I speculated whether he would last six months because some of his predecessors didn’t.

Already, Huddlestone has been in the job for nineteen months and is the third longest holder of the office out of the last twelve ministers. He still has a way to go to catch up with John Penrose who held the job for 27 months a decade or so ago.

For most of Huddlestone’s time in office he has had the pandemic to curtail his efforts. There has been little point in promoting the UK abroad when few could travel here. For many months Huddleston has been almost invisible compared to Grant Shapps who seemed to lead on travel and tourism

But as nations open up, Huddlestone has a key role in attracting people to visit, to fill the hotels and guest houses, caravan and camper parks, yurts and glamping sites against competition form virtually every other country.
Of course he won’t do that, Visit Britain is the agency briefed to do it but he should contribute.

At any opportunity he needs to sell Britain with speeches, cameo spots, guest appearances and anything his advisors can come up with to help him publicise our countries so that all the people who were laid off can see job potential. And so that tourism generates economic growth again.

He can start with celebrating every anniversary he can think of by highlighting links with countries so, for example, it is the 175th anniversary of the death of the composer Mendelssohn. He was influential in the UK and taught Queen Victoria. Loan the documents that we have to his home city of Hamburg in Germany and arrrange for one of our orchestras to help celebrate the event along with a guide to the places in the UK with which Mendelssohn is associated.

2022 will also be the 400th anniversaries of the births of Moliere and Rembrandt providing us with two links to nations who send many visitors to the UK – France and the Netherlands. Devise a plan, minister, to encourage the people of those two nations to visit the UK.

To those who say 2022 is to close to organise anything and that these things take time,I say if you don’t try, you don’t find out. At least if nothing happens you will have opened doors that will be remembered for future activities.

This is what ministers should be doing – selling all parts of the UK abroad. And staying in the job long enough to achieve something for tourism.

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