B&NES could keep more tourism revenue under Government plans

Bath and North East Somerset could see more of its tourism revenue kept for local spending priorities under plans being developed by the new Government.

In a keynote speech on developing Britain’s tourist industry, Prime Minister David Cameron this week announced that the Government intends to bring forward plans which would allow local councils to keep more of the money raised in the local area from tourism.

Conservative politicians in Bath and North East Somerset have welcomed the announcement, which they say could help the local area during the tough financial times ahead.

With attractions in the area including the Roman Baths, Holburne Museum, Radstock Museum, Bath Abbey, and the Railway Museum in Midsomer Norton, the tourism industry forms a key part of the Bath and North East Somerset economy. One in ten jobs in the local area rely on the tourism industry and it is worth in excess of £400 million to the area every year.

The Conservative administration on B&NES Council has already taken steps in recent years to help boost the local tourist industry, including supported improvements to the Roman Baths, and working closely with Future Bath Plus and Bath Tourism Plus, a public-private partnership established to promote the area’s tourism.

Councillor Martin Veal (Cons, Bathavon North), Vice-chairman on Bath Tourism Plus, said;

“We have a thriving tourism industry in Bath and North East Somerset which has performed very strongly through the recession, helping support our area’s economy during these tough times. During recent visits by Lady Cobham, Chair of Visit England and by Tourism Minister John Penrose the Council and Bath Tourism Plus were identified as beacons of best practise for the development of Britain’s tourist industry.”

Cllr Terry Gazzard (Cons, Abbey), the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for tourism, commented;

“David Cameron’s speech covers the very points we have been making to Government over recent months and in the evidence the Council gave to the Select Committee on Tourism. We are pleased to see that the issues are recognised and will be examined further by Government. If the Government is to allow local councils to keep a greater amount of the revenue raised through tourism this is very welcome. Tourism is a crucial local industry, being able to keep more of the money raised for spending here in our area would prove a big help during tough financial times. We look forward to seeing the Government’s detailed proposals as they emerge.”