THANKS to the Observer for giving over two pages to what is a key part of our economy in not only Chichester, but the whole of West Sussex.
I would like to make the following brief points:
It could be unfair to be critical of Visit Chichester. Lack of funding from CDC led to the work being carried out by willing volunteers and what funding was forthcoming was inadequate.
Having said that, over the years that I took an active interest in Visit Chichester there was no real action to move it from basically a website to find a place to stay.
Trying to get all the tourist bodies together in West Sussex would appear to be a laudable aim, but given that we have local and county councils, if you are hoping this will be a quick fix, I would not hold your breath!
Being a native of Durham, it is good to see that it is being held up as an example we should follow.
One of the key points is that it is for the County of Durham not just the city and supported by Durham County Council, WSCC please note!
I would like to see a real action plan going forward involving all interested government bodies and the private sector with a timeframe to work to.
There are another couple of issues raised in the article. The problem of getting rooms during major Goodwood events. Like most things in business you tend to work to the average and to try and expect hotels to be built to cater for three probable peaks in demand during the year is expecting far too much.
Finally, on a more global perspective the government has dismissed the campaign to cut VAT on tourism to levels that are comparable with the rest of Europe. It is not just the rest of the UK we are competing against in West Sussex but the tourist Pound/Euro in the rest of Europe.
I am told smaller places to stay will reach the VAT payment ceiling and then take no more bookings. Understandably as you then attract VAT on all of your turnover, surely there has to be some way of getting more potential room nights, especially in the less busy periods.
Maybe our local MPs might like to get behind the campaign as it is such an important economic contributor to the region.
Our two local MPs, Andrew Tyrie and Nick Herbert, could perhaps join forces and assist in this process.