Transport and infrastructure
Welcoming the announcement of new funding to market the North East to attract more visitors from Scandinavia, VistEngland’s chief executive, James Berresford said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen well established links between these two regions with a fresh proposition to the Nordic market. We hope this funding to create export business for the North East will give others the confidence to invest in new services and capitalise on this demand stimulation package,” he added. “NewcastleGateshead Initiative is well placed to lead this activity working with partners locally supported by VisitEngland and VisitBritain.”
“Digital infrastructure is arguably just as important as transport infrastructure for tourism,” said Mr Beresford, “and it is great to hear the commitment to invest £600m in improved mobile phone services and for all premises in the country to have access to 100 mega bit high speed broadband – this would be a real boost for rural tourism businesses,” said Mr Berresford.
“The introduction of Apprenticeship Vouchers and the eventual cutting of employers’ NI for apprentices may help stimulate the sector to take on much needed apprentices to support the growth in tourism that we have seen since the recession. Skills shortages are a real threat to the sector’s continued success, so anything that makes it easier to attract more talent is very welcome,” said Mr Berresford.
Devolution and regional economic growth
“Plans to create more enterprise zones and new devolution deals, may lead to regional and local authorities with the ability to invest more in tourism. We will be campaigning to make the case to these new fund holders that tourism is a highly effective area for investment to create regional economic growth,” said Mr Berresford.
Support for cultural activities
Said Mr Beresford: “Funding for cultural and heritage events announced in the Budget will provide focal points to drive visitor numbers around the country. We know from previous experience that momentous anniversaries and celebrations of our heritage and culture can support the visitor economy” he added.