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ERTC 'has been the fresh air and shot in the arm'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

PARTNERS: Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay

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THE English Riviera's top attractions are united in their opposition to Mayor Gordon Oliver's proposed zero budget for the resort's tourism company for 2015/16 .

English Riviera Attractions chairman Richard Cuming said they want to place on record their opposition in the strongest possible terms to the proposed budget cut currently out to public consultation.

The group, which represents Bygones St Marychurch, Paignton Zoo, Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company, Living Coasts and the Babbacombe Model Village.

Mr Cuming said: "We are shocked not only by the zero budget, but also by the cancellation of the service contract which had been agreed until March 31, 2017.

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"Our members welcome well in excess of one million visitors per year and have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in improvements.

"These numbers and investment have been possible due to the performance and success of the English Riviera Tourism Company and the understanding resources would be available to the company at a set level up until March 2017.

All of our members are promotional partners and therefore contribute additional resources available for promotion.

"We have worked closely with them supporting campaigns and initiatives in many areas.

"Destination marketing is crucial for the continued growth of the English Riviera.

"Frankly, the award-winning ERTC has been the fresh air and shot in the arm our resort required after decades of decline and lack of direction.

"They have unified the industry cut out duplication, delivered focused and targeted campaigns, increased shoulder months trading and are highly regarded at a national level.

"We appear, thanks to this proposal, to be at an unwanted turning point at a critical time in the run up to the T-BID.

"The ERTC requires proper funding to enable it to deliver the destination marketing and promotional partners packages for 2015.

"It should also be noted destinations who already have BIDS up and running such as Bournemouth and Greater Yarmouth continue to get financial support from their respective local authorities.

"Even after a, hopefully, successful T-BID we would expect some continued support from Torbay Council."

Mr Cuming has asked the mayor: "Are you going to properly support the ERTC and safeguard jobs, further investment and prosperity?

"Are you going to allow the English Riviera to remain one of the major UK tourism destinations? Are you committed to the T-BID and future support for our sector? If the answer is no then that would be economic suicide."

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  • papper  |  August 29 2014, 10:57AM

    regardless of source i might add

  • papper  |  August 29 2014, 10:56AM

    And my resonse is to highlight that whatever funding they do receive has been money well spent!

  • eponym1  |  August 28 2014, 11:03PM

    @papper..........I have not questioned the effectiveness or value of the ERTC, just the source of its funding.

  • papper  |  August 28 2014, 9:45PM

    Oh please be quiet eponym. The ERTC are responsible for so much exposure and free advertisement with that alone being more than value for money. They have done an amazing job to progress the resort from the old ways of dealing with tourism and advertising and it would be an absolute travesty for them to be stripped of funding and for the service to go. I can't stress what an asset they are. I think perhaps the people you speak for our from the days of Gordon Oliver and his separate tourism division who went rouge against Nick Bye and his quite bold plans at the time. The sooner that generation of old style thinking moves one, the better Torbay will become. Until then, you're left with this lot looking to undue such great work already achieved. There was much fanfare with Gordon Oliver becoming Mayor. I hope all those that voted eat their words. What a fail he's been. Good on all those who work at the ERTC. You should hold your head high knowing the great work you've achieved for the bay. Don't give up the fight Carolyn and all of the team.

  • eponym1  |  August 28 2014, 2:22PM

    As this story is being reiterated again by hoteliers and others associated with the local tourism industry I will repeat my previous comment on this subject. Perhaps Mr Cuming could explain why the local authority/taxpayers should pay towards the cost of the ERTC which is a private body that primarily benefits the commercial tourism industry. While tourism is a significant sector of the local economy, local authority funding of private organisations is a hangover from the distant past and in the current economic climate it is certainly not sound use of public funds. It must be up to those who enjoy the profits from the hotels and related businesses to provide the necessary financial support for their own marketing body if they feel it is so valuable.

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