LETTERS: Tourism's future in East Dorset
I am so pleased to hear that Anthony Oliver and Chris Brown and others have been working so hard to preserve the Tourist Information
Centre in its current form.
Government backed www.VisitEngland.org gives facts, figures and case studies for the vital role of tourism in the economy and there is no suggestion there that the internet is making TICs obsolete.
This is a direct quote from this website taken from the "Value of Tourism" link: ‘"’Tourism is essential to England’s economy. It generates £97 billion each year, employs in excess of two million people and supports thousands of businesses, both directly and indirectly. It also has an interdependent relationship with a range of sectors including farming, transport, retailing, sport, museums and the arts’.
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If East Dorset's councillors and officers have not researched the subject of tourism's impact on local economies, I suggest they should make it a priority before making their final decision about tourism's future in East Dorset. Has EDDC revealed how much it will invest in tourism - bearing in mind there will no longer be a tourism officer after Rachel Limb is made redundant at the end of the year, She has worked tirelessly with the tourism trade over the years and the loss of her role will disadvantage a great number of businesses. It seems muddled thinking to expect that this kind of work might be shared around different departments - that is if it happens at all!
A small volunteer run office may be able to dispense general information well, but would struggle to keep or increase the income level. It will also have neither the budget or resources to attract visitors to East Dorset in the first place as the current tourism team run by East Dorset District Council has been successfully doing for over 20 years with the result that tourism is now worth millions to the District annually. So many businesses, attractions and individuals are certain to suffer from losing year-round visitors to Wimborne, Christchurch and the surrounding countryside.
The proposal to cut support to tourism may save money in the short term but tourism is one of East Dorset's finest assets and the people of East Dorset will be badly let down. I would urge that this proposal be reconsidered particularly in the light of the very short span of time which has been currently set to make any proposed changes.
former staff member of Wimborne Tourist Information Centre team