Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Devolution, tourism and misplaced priorities in East Devon

The 'devolution deal' for Devon and its neighbour seems to be hinging on the Hinkley power station:
Futures Forum: Devolution for Devon and Somerset? >>> and EDF at Hinkley Point
Futures Forum: Devolution for Devon and Somerset? >>> of Local Enterprise Partnerships, 'opportunites for East Devon' and 'competing for crumbs at Hinkley Point'.

It seems very much to be about the LEP:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and building Hinkley

But it doesn't seem to be much about accountability and transparency:
Futures Forum: Devolution and the drawbacks of 'back room' deals
Futures Forum: Devolution for Devon and Somerset? >>> as the counties are set to become a 'combined authority', a parliamentary committee says "It is alarming that Local Enterprise Partnerships are not meeting basic standards of governance and transparency."

It certainly doesn't seem to be about the tourist industry - but, then, local government in these parts has not seen it as much of a priority:
Futures Forum: East Devon and toursim
Futures Forum: "Statistics show us that small and medium-size businesses (including those in tourism) are our life blood."
Futures Forum: "Tourism rises" ... but questions remain for East Devon
Futures Forum: Looking to the future of the South West seaside town ... part two
Futures Forum: "We need a Tourism Officer to promote East Devon as one"
Futures Forum: Tourism awards for East Devon: ""You are all very special - in an era of ever dwindling public sector funding you are the industry leaders who can take Devon forward."
Futures Forum: Beach huts "should not be a cash cow for the benefit of the privileged few"

And yet:

The English tourism industry is booming and is predicted to grow faster than the overall economy every year for the next decade, according to new research.

English tourism forecast to outgrow general economy for 10 years (From Mid Devon Star)

As pointed out in a post from the East Devon Alliance, in the wake of a report from the Local Government Association, these are missed opportunities:

Tourism is expected to have a much higher growth rate than the national economy as a whole. 
Do our councils and Local Enterprise Partnership reflect this in their local plans or devolution plans? 
No. Why? You will need to ask them – provided you can drag them all away from their high-end housing development and nuclear industry interests first.

East Devon Watch

Here are some excerpts from the report:

English tourism can soar under devolution, say councils

LGA press release 27 September 2016

English tourism can soar under devolution deals with new figures revealing the tourist industry is set to grow by nearly three per cent every year over the next decade, research by the Local Government Association revealed today.

With tourism emerging as one of the fastest growing industries, the LGA said local areas can use the devolution agenda to turn their cities and counties into thriving tourist hotspots for the growing ‘staycation' market and overseas visitors.

To mark World Tourism Day, new research commissioned by the LGA shows that domestic tourism is predicted to grow 2.9 per cent every year over the next decade, which is more than the overall economy (2.5 per cent).

It follows latest industry figures which reveal there were 103 million overnight trips in England in 2015, an 11 per cent increase compared to 2014, and an 8 per cent increase in expenditure compared to 2014, with a total spend of £19.6 billion.

Regions which saw the biggest increases in overnight trips include the West Midlands (+22 per cent), Yorkshire (+20 per cent), the South West (+14 per cent) and London (+14 per cent).

Case studies: Plymouth City Council

Plymouth re-branded as ‘Britain's Ocean City' in 2013 as part of its first ever Visitor Strategy launched in 2010. 
With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing in 2020 the city aims to grow visitors to the city by 20 per cent and spend by 25 per cent up to 2020 in line with a huge ambition to commemorate the anniversary on a globally significant scale. Since the baseline figures were established in 2008 visitor growth of over 28 per cent and increased spend of 23 per cent in turn has helped to increase overall jobs in the sector by 92 per cent to just over 8,000 – 7 per cent of the local economy. 
Looking forward to 2020, Plymouth has aligned itself behind the Mayflower plans and has in process unprecedented capital development of over £70 million as well as a major commitment of over £2.25 million revenue from the city council to supporting the project. Projects include a new hotel development, coach hub, re-designed railway station and cruise terminal as well as a £40 million extension by British Land to their Drake Circus development. 
It is estimated that more than 25 million Americans are descended from the Mayflower pilgrims and Plymouth is working closely with the national partnership to ensure that the UK benefits not just in 2020 but significantly beyond.

Media releases | Local Government Association
Plymouth's counting down the years to the Mayflower 400 celebrations | Plymouth Herald

See also:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth: a town of charity shops and coffee shops?

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