Friday, March 03, 2006

"The route to success is to do what you do best, and keep improving"

I was very surprised to read in his column this Friday that that Adrian Sanders is still advocating diversifying Torbay's economy away from tourism.

It would seem that Mr Sanders has learned little from the experiences of his party in power since 1990. When the Lib Dems took over Torbay they turned their back on the hotel industry opting instead for Government-grant dependent manufacturing jobs.

Now that the grants have dried up and the jobs have gone Mr Sanders talks about Torbay as if we were an economic basket-case whose only salvation will come from yet more Government hand-outs.

But Mr Sanders' frequent doom laden predictions for British tourism in general and Torbay in particular are twenty years out of date.

Nearby resorts like Padstow have flourished by appealing to new kinds of visitors - young, professional people, for instance, with lots of money and little time who choose 'cool' locations in the South West for a fast-fix of intense relaxation.

The fastest growing consumer sector in Europe is now the over 60's; who are fitter and richer than ever. They flock in their millions to places like the Eden Project and they need high quality accommodation and entertainment while they are here. Tourism to Britain from abroad is flourishing, with visitor numbers up sharply since 2002. Britain is now the 5th most popular global destination with 25 million foreign holidaymakers coming to Britain every year.

The route to success in business is to do what you do best, and keep improving.

Conservatives believe that the time has come to restore the English Riviera to it's rightful place as the No 1 destination for visitors and residents in the South West and in the process bring much more money into the local economy.

We think that Torbay residents want a council run by people who understand business, who recognise the importance of visitors to our economy and who can manage our civic finances so that we can afford to provide the high quality facilities that visitors expect.

Unlike Mr Sanders, we believe in Torbay's future as a world-class coastal resort.

PS. I am away this week, posts to this thread may not appear for a few days.


Anonymous said...

On holiday? You should live by your words and stay in Torbay and set a good example for others wishing to holiday here!

Anonymous said...

hey Marcus, seems like with the Mayoral election and everything you have it all sorted :)

Gimme a buzz sometime when you're back!

D Burbage

Anonymous said...

I am so glad someone is pointing out what for years i thought was obvious - Torbay only has one future and that is as a holiday and tourism centre.

My family have invested here for several decades but recently we have felt like pariahs for being in the holiday let business.

I just hope your initiative is not crushed by council bureaucracy, like so many others seem to have bee

Jenny T said...

Do you *really* have to put up with the kind of stupid comment made above?

I hope you enjoyed your holiday - I think you deserve a bit of a break!

Dawn Clifton said...

Yeah- heaven forbid Marcus should have to be scrutinised like any other politician. Is this only a blog for agreement and back-slapping?

Just a quick question (so this post is constructive), what are your thoughts on the shop a hoodie campaign in the Herald?

Marcus Wood said...

Dawn - my thoughts on the Herald Express campaign are that they risk demonising young people in my view unfairly.

The vast majority of young people (with or without Hoodies) are law abiding citizens.

There is a great temptation to believe that 'kids in my day showed more respect' but to be honest when I was a teenager I didn't -and nor did most of my friends.

Fear of crime has grown out of all proportion to the actual liklihood of being a victim of crime and some press (and, to be fair, political) campaigns can make matters worse.

Barrie Wood said...

Oh no...I'm going to agree with Marcus ! Quite right Marcus the vast majority of young people are decent and law abiding. Demonising, as the HE, rather unwittingly might be straying towards helps no-one, young or not-so-young.

In the same way the 'Living By The Rules' campaign from the same paper risks falling into Daily Mail style overtly moralising and, worse still, a quasi-religious tone, with evangelical Christians being the primary backers of this initiative.

The HE needs, in my view, to step back from the kind of tabloidesque coverage of local events than are fast becoming its trademark.

As you say the fear of crime is greater than the actuality of crime.

Barrie Wood said...

Over-reliance on the tourist industry has resulted in a low waged and under-skilled local economy. The need for diversification and better infrastructure is as great as it ever was.

This is not to 'do down' the Bay as a resort but to seek to provide a prosperous bay for **residents** as well as a first-class tourist destination for visitors.

Adrian Sanders was right then and his judgement still holds true.

Marcus Wood said...

Barry, my point is that after twenty years of this kind of approach (not just Adrian Sanders - it has been the cry of many a Tory councillor, too) we are worse off.

The industrial jobs aren't coming here, are they? In fact they are increasingly not coming to the South West - or even Britain - but China, Hungary and Poland.

Meanwhile other parts of Devon and Cornwall have got on with the job of doing what they do best and have prospered while we have declined.

You can only deliver prosperity to the bays residents by having a thriving economy.

Our economy has always depended on visitors and tourists and we should face that fact and make the best of it.

Barrie Wood said...

So you advocate more minimum wage jobs in the tourism industry increasingly undertaken by Eastern European workers, who will soon tire of their low reward for their hard work.

Some 'vision' and how does this vision compare with that of the supposedly 'independent' mayor ?

Marcus Wood said...

I wonder how it is, Barry, that we have 2,200 registered unemployed in Torbay yet you rightly point out that most of the hotels in Torbay increasingly need to employ overseas workers to fill their vacancies?

If you think leisure jobs are such a bad idea that you don't want them - what would you do instead?

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