Devon will still be promoted as a tourist destination

Demise of South West Tourism will not stop Visit Devon from pulling in holidaymakers.

EAST Devon will still be promoted as a holiday destination when South West Tourism closes next month - but it will be at a disadvantage.

The regional organisation has fallen victim to spending cuts, losing its entire grant from the South West Regional Development Agency.

Visit Devon, a separate body, is responsible for promoting the county and its work will continue - funded by local authorities and businesses.

Michael Pritchard, of Pecorama, in Beer, is keen to see more being done to promote East Devon - at a time when the Government has given Yorkshire Tourism �10 million.

“We are very keen that tourism in Devon is properly promoted, especially the eastern part of the county,” he told The Midweek Herald.

“West of the River Exe seems to do very well with visitors, but East Devon lags behind. We are very much the poor relation and need all the promotion we can possibly get.”

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Alistair Handyside, the chairman of South West Tourism, has told MPs in an open letter: “You will understand the despair at the announcement that Yorkshire Tourism has been awarded a �10 million pound grant for the next year to promote Yorkshire.

“This will put all of us in the wider visitor economy in the South West at a massive competitive disadvantage, as they continue to advertise to our customers using every media including television.

“We really need to know how this has been allowed to happen.”

Mr Handyside added: “Ultimately, it is the local politicians and national industry leaders who will have to explain why the South West can receive no transitional support for tourism, yet Yorkshire can retain it’s Regional Tourist Board with �10 million to spend.

“I cannot begin to express how angry and mystified everyone involved with the visitor economy in the South West is by this grant, be they private or public sector.”

South West Tourism focused on strategic issues, providing visitor and market research, advice and guidance for sustainability and quality development, and management of tourism training.

Special feature in tomorrow’s Midweek Herald. Read what local MPs have to say and find out about a new consortium that aim to continue some of South West Tourism’s work.

See the Editor’s Choice on this website for our special promotion video ‘Spectacular Seaton’.