Monday, 22 June 2009

TOURISTS WANT CLEAN STREETS

Many local Thanet people I know do not go away in the summer as we have so much to offer in Thanet. I was pleased to see in the Local Government magazine First a feature on Thanet encouraging "staycation" tourism from London Kent and Essex.

The article covers many resorts but says this about Thanet:

"Thanet district council has been promoting the benefits of holidaying in its resorts of Margate and Ramsgate by delivering 35,000 ‘Our beaches are beautiful’ leaflets across Kent, Essex, and London, and publicising the coast and its numerous activities and events at www.visitthanet.co.uk which has seen traffic increase from just over 36,000 in April to nearly 45,000 in May."

What about our local environment though? Unkempt streets here. Eastcliff Richard catalogues the failure to keep Ramsgate up to standard here, here, and here. So I think the no doubt carefully targeted 35,000 leaflets fail to understand how to grow tourism. When looking at 10 million people in London, Kent and Essex, 35,000 is mighty small. The problem though is that people need to come through our towns to access Thanet's beautiful beaches. At the last Council meeting the Council leadership acknowledged there is a problem with cleaning the streets, but said there was little they could do and almost blamed the people. Then we find out from the front page of last week's Isle of Thanet Gazette that Thanet Council have run out of money for wheelie bins.

This is nonsense, there's plenty of money, it is not just being spent very well. On tourism the most important recommendation is word of mouth. That generates more repeat business than any leaflet drop. Indeed at present, friends who visit see what we have to offer, but are disappointed there is so little to do (closing museums - doh!) and notice the mess.

I know Scarborough Council recognised this some time ago and prioritised cleaning their beaches and streets as their market research showed how important this was to visitors. For Thanet Council it is a lack of joined up thinking to close toilets, not make cleaning a priority and then still try and advertise for tourists.

I am pleased that the Visit Thanet website is getting more hits, but I am concerned that when the current mood in the country means we have a chance to make a big impression on "staycation" visitors, that Thanet will be let down by a Cabinet that is unable to think strategically on tourism and just flits from issue to issue.

3 comments:

  1. Who's responsible for the grass verges outside Margate Station? Nowadays people arriving in Margate by train don't even have to wait until the sea Arlington House & Dreamland before noticing how run-down the place is...

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  2. See Thanet Strife for pictures of overgrown verges in Broadstairs. I was old by residents that the verges in some areas were cut twice in a fortnight but others, like the ones Bertie Biggles features, haven't been cut in months. Not exactly rocket science to organise, surely?

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  3. Employ people who want to do the job we went out this PM and a street cleaner with barrow walked 200 yards in half an hour going back to his depot if the rest of his day was spent at the same rate wewould need thousands of road sweepers

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