Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Visit Cornwall

Today, we held a county wide summit on tourism at Kingsley Village. Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Tourism was in Cornwall. It was a good opportunity to get a group of leading Cornish businesses from the sector together to share their concerns and discuss policy ideas for the future.

There are many leading tourist attractions in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle. Hayle is second only to Newquay in terms of total visitor numbers in the summer. We also have the National Seal Sanctuary, Paradise Park, Poldark Mine and some famous old gardens including Trebah and Glendurgan.

There was a strong view at the summit that we needed to do more to promote Cornwall as a destination. At the moment, much of the funding is allocated along the lines arbitrary regional quangos rather than being allocated to genuine tourist destinations that people recognise. So money is spent promoting "the South West of England" rather than Cornwall. Meanwhile overseas, rather than having a single organisation promoting Britain, there are sometimes 10 regional offices competing with one another. It doesn't take much nous to work out the shortcomings of such an approach. Administrative 'regions' simply don't have an identity that can be marketed. We should reform the way tourism is promoted so that there is more emphasis on genuine destinations like Cornwall.