First published Friday, October 17, 2014
A quick scan of the newspapers, websites, social media or TV news bulletins quickly highlights that our world is constantly changing. As with any kind of change, some of it may well be for the better, some of it less obviously so, but regardless of which it may be, there is no escaping the fact that change is, in some ways, the only constant in life.
Some changes are minor, barely noticeable, or so much a part of life that we don’t notice any more – the changing of the seasons happens regardless, day to night and night to day, the tide coming in and going out again. Others we perhaps don’t hear about until the volume of voices discussing them reaches a critical mass, or the impact of them is felt by others not directly involved. Sometimes we don’t realise a change has happened until something disappears or suddenly appears and it becomes too late to prevent it happening.
Taking part in consultation exercises can be one means by which to influence the outcome of changes that are being proposed, raising a petition perhaps as another. Both however have something in common – they require a high level of involvement from those they affect. One voice alone is unlikely to carry much weight, but one hundred voices, two hundred, a thousand……. that is much harder to ignore. Such a volume is also far more likely to attract attention from other quarters, whether in the media, or other groups who have more than a passing interest in the matters at hand.
Within our industry, within our county, there are changes ahead that will have an impact. At present we don’t yet know what those changes will be, but given the immense pressure that public sector budgets are under both locally and nationally, it is likely that the provision of services across all areas will be looked at, questioned, and decisions made based on perceived priority.
The tourism and visitor industry in Pembrokeshire has an incredibly important role to play economically. Contributing over £520million a year, and supporting over 16,000 full time equivalent jobs, it is quite clear that the industry is of significant value to the county. To maintain the strength of the sector, to continue to develop it, and to promote innovation and growth, it is perhaps more important than ever that as an industry we work together, join forces, put aside differences and come together to sing the same tune – that of a prosperous Pembrokeshire, that has fantastic places to go, superb accommodation for all price levels, plenty of good food, a clear understanding of its heritage and culture and an offering that is here come rain or shine, winter or summer.
Regardless of which political party is in residence in Cardiff, or the names and faces of those locally elected, both of which can and do change, the trade continues to go about its businesses day to day, month to month, year to year. It is an industry that here in Pembrokeshire is largely driven by micro businesses, with a handful of SME operators to add to the mix. Each one of these businesses has a voice, and each one of these businesses deserves to have that voice heard. Individually they can of course make comment, and add something to the conversation. By joining up with others in the industry, they can make that voice much louder and clearer. By joining up with us, that voice becomes amplified further, and can be taken to conversations around council tables, around Welsh Government tables, and indeed into the corridors of Westminster.
Pembrokeshire needs tourism. Tourism needs businesses to contribute and deliver the product and service, and equally it needs to have a strong presence locally, in order to have a strong presence outside the county, encouraging people to visit. If you want your voice to count for something, and want to know that your views are being heard, your concerns raised, your feedback given, join us. We are here for our members, and our members are the trade. Shape the future of tourism in Pembrokeshire and play your part in adding greater weight and value to the contribution this industry makes.
First published on The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog