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Tourism Alliance backs business in the south west

With the summer holiday season in full swing, thousands of visitors are flocking to the south west and all may appear to be well in the tourism stakes.  

It’s the UK’s most popular destination for domestic visits out of all English regions. With 26 Blue Flag beaches and some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes from moor to sea, as well as world-class visitor attractions, it certainly has a great deal to offer.

Yet behind this beautiful scenery, the tourism industry has had to work hard to try to secure the investment needed to keep it this way and its future is uncertain.

The South West Tourism Alliance, which represents the region’s leading tourism businesses and organisations, both public and private, and lobbies for vital improvements to enable the tourism sector to grow, is concerned for the future of its national trail.

As one of the region’s biggest tourism assets that provides the linking thread between many of the top tourism attractions, the South West Coast Path national trail is estimated to attract 8 million visitors a year who spend £500m whilst here.

But funding for this vital route has been in decline for the past 5 years, with a 30% reduction in its core budget. As one of a family of 15 national trails, which represent the finest walking routes in the country, further cuts are expected to affect all the trails and the Alliance are keen to prevent this.

It recently stepped up in support of the National Trails family by raising £1,000 towards the public affairs work that is trying to secure a better deal from DEFRA. This has involved lobbying of MPs to highlight its intrinsic value to the region’s economy, which contributes to 12,000 full time equivalent jobs.

Alistair Handyside, Chairman of the Alliance says that the Coast Path is; “regularly described as the region’s best asset, that’s not only great for visitors, but is equally important to all that live near it”, adding that it’s “critical and integral to the visitor economies of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset”.

South West Tourism Alliance is also representing the region’s tourism businesses on the issue of business rates, infrastructure investment and recognising the value of the South West tourism industry as a whole.

In 2014, the South West Coast Path National Trail was awarded the prestigious “Outstanding Contribution to Tourism” title at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards and earlier this year, it was once again named as Britain’s Best Walk in a UK-wide poll.

As the longest of all 15 National Trails in England and Wales with a length of 630 miles, the South West Coast Path follows the coastline of England’s South West peninsular from Minehead in Somerset, to Poole Harbour in Dorset, taking the entire coastlines of Devon and Cornwall in between.

Published on: Aug. 10, 2017