Regional politics and policies to improve tourism
Senior regional politicians and other stakeholders were addressed earlier this week by Professor Rhodri Thomas, our Professor of Tourism and Dean of School.
He had been invited by the One Yorkshire Committee to present his views on how tourism policy interventions might be improved. The One Yorkshire Committee brings together local council leaders with representatives of business, trade unions and others from across the region. The event was introduced by Lord Timothy Kirkham and Chaired by Kevin Hollinrake MP.
Rhodri started his presentation by noting that he was not speaking about the current Covid-19 crisis. He and his colleagues have commented elsewhere on tourism policy responses to the pandemic (see response to the pandemic). Rhodri focused on the importance of a perspective that was not short-term in its vision, included communities and recognised the importance of policy integration. As he stated:
An almost exclusive focus on promoting Yorkshire as a place to visit in ever increasing numbers misses the many opportunities that this sector offers to the people living in the region. It seems to me, that the public policy challenge is not whether local councils should stump up money to overcome a market failure relating to the promotion of a destination but whether the goals of tourism policy are sufficiently clearly articulated, expansive and - indeed – integrated with other policy domains.
He went on to discuss the importance of combining thinking on tourism with concerns over the major challenges of our time, notably the environment. This might usefully lead to integrating tourism with transport policies, environmental policies, technology, business support policies and policies on social cohesion, for example.
Rhodri Thomas is Professor of Tourism and Events Policy and Dean of the School of Events, Tourism & Hospitality Management.