Sunday 13 February 2011

We are each of us tourists in the original modern city

GM tourism review
A couple of years ago, I helped Visit Manchester - Greater Manchester's Tourist Board - write and publish a tourism strategy for the city region which I hope set out some of the critical challenges and opportunities that existed for what those in the know call the 'visitor economy' across our wonderful ten boroughs.

We're now busy, again with Visit Manchester, reviewing that strategy and doing a bit of an update report on how the sector has been doing.

The headlines? Well, the sector is holding its own with visitor numbers up a little over the last couple of years, but I think it would be fair to say that some of our core challenges, such as a diversification of the nighttime economy, still stand. Email me if you have thoughts, or post a comment.

And as an aside, I thought I'd include a quick comment on why I think this is so earth-shatteringly important.

First of all, I am passionate about a vibrant visitor economy being a fundamental part of creating a sustainable city. If we are inspired and are acquiring new knowledge and new experiences, then we are, for my money, more likely to make the connections and take the actions necessary to create a better future for our children.

Second thing - no surprise here - is climate change related. If we make our tourism product utterly irresistible and of the highest quality, then more of us will opt for 'staycations' and will avoid barfing out vast amounts of carbon going on mini-breaks and piss-ups in far flung locales.

Third - Manchester. Getting the experience of our city right is critical if we want to be a player. We want talented graduates to stay here? We need to be vibrant. We want people to invest here? We need to be vibrant. We want the jaded and over-indebted souls in the South East and London to do the smart thing and move up to the Original Modern City? We need to be vibrant, and different, and good.

So that's why I care about this stuff... but back to the review... comments if you have them are gratefully received.

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