The Managing Director of Exeter Airport has spoken out supporting the current management team at South West Tourism in its need to plug the regional tourism gap that will be created when the RDA funded organisation closes its doors in six months.
In a statement issued by the airport Mr Christon said “There isn’t a lot of time left before SWT closes and it is vital that very, very quickly organisations meet to discuss what can be formed to maintain the good work that the small team in Exeter excels in. This isn’t only research and lobbying, but the fact that we will no longer have a South West voice, which could lead to county destination management organisations working to different tunes across the patch. South West Tourism must act to facilitate a group of equally minded private and public sector organisations to sort this issue out quickly.
In April next year, we will be not only looking at the demise of SWT, but also the realisation that many other tourism organisations with public sector grants may have large budget cuts. The optimal solution would be to pool what funding is available from all over the region into a single pot to prevent duplication and provide a strong voice. Going into 2011 without a clear mandate and disjointed funding won’t be good for tourism in the region so we need to act now to stop this happening. Exeter Airport supports the need to maintain a tourist body, not only in the counties but as importantly across the region.”
He went onto say that Alistair Handyside and Maureen McAllister’s team had done a great job in difficult times and with their commitment supported by local business organisations and the tourism groups he was confident an emerging regional tourism company could be formed.