First published Monday, January 5, 2015
So here we are once again at the start of a new year. What will this year hold? There are some known quantities – a UK General Election for one – but as ever a fair amount of what lies ahead remains for now something of a mystery. Of course, we hope for good weather over the majority of the main holiday months, and a continuance of the increase in consumer confidence seen last year. A good cross section of our members are already feeling positive, with some advance bookings having been made, although of course the trend of leaving booking a holiday until almost the last minute continues.
In the run up to the General Election we may well see and hear more from the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign as they suggest that a reduction in the rate of VAT applied to leisure, tourism and hospitality goods and services would create more jobs and boost expenditure in the sector. There will of course be many issues and themes on the table for discussion in the coming months as election campaigns get underway, however if there is something in particular you would like us to raise with your local representative do let us know – we have meetings lined up with both Rt Hon MP Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart MP in late February.
On a more local level, in line with many local authorities, Pembrokeshire County Council is once again having to take a good look at the books to make savings to the tune of around £12.5million. There has been some quite extensive public consultation around this in recent months, and with the budget for the coming financial year due to be agreed in the next few weeks, it will undoubtedly stir more discussion around what services should be delivered against those that could be delivered.
Whilst at times frustrating challenges such as these, imposed in the shape of external pressures to existing services, can provide great opportunities to do things differently or do different things (there is a difference!). With this in mind, the end of this month will see the Pembrokeshire Tourism Summit join forces with Destination Pembrokeshire to deliver the Destination Pembrokeshire Conference, entitled Tourism: A New Direction.
The day will combine a number of elements, but perhaps most importantly it will provide a number of opportunities for representatives from tourism businesses across the county, and their supply chain, to have their views and ideas listened to and considered as part of the bigger picture. As the political landscape changes, at local, regional and national level, and as public sector spending continues to come under pressure it is widely accepted that current service models and delivery will indeed change. With this in mind, now is the ideal time to become an active proponent of change, and help shape the direction and outcome of suggested new ways of working.
Tourism as an industry is constantly evolving, largely to meet the ever increasing demands of the consumer. Whilst to a large extent the industry is demand led, there is no reason why innovators and entrepreneurs can’t develop new products and services to further expand the options, and the value, available to the end (paying) user. The key of course is that the private sector (the business people of the industry) deliver good quality and good value products, services and experiences and do so consistently.
And so, as 2015 begins to unfurl, why not continue the great work, the hard work, the time, the effort, the dedication already achieving so much, and add something more, something different and take tourism in Pembrokeshire, in Wales, and across the UK in a new direction.
For further details on the Destination Pembrokeshire Conference and to book tickets please click the link below.
First posted on The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog