Heseltine berates leading tourist region

PETER VICTOR

The Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine, last night attacked the way one of Britain's top holiday regions caters for tourists.

The tourism industry in Devon and Cornwall was "not being well managed enough". He said: "There are too many hotels and guest houses of the wrong kind in the wrong place."

Mr Heseltine, who launched a plea for better quality in the industry, was speaking to Torridge and West Devon Conservative Association in Tavistock. He said tourism contributed pounds 3bn to the local economy of the west country in 1994. One in six businesses in the two counties are in tourism but the industry is in decline. Although it was one of the fastest growing world industries, it was not growing in the South-West, where it had a vital role.

"Why? Not because the attractions of the South-West are any less. But let us be frank, because the industry is not being well enough managed.

"What does it take to have a modern, flexible sensitive tourism industry in the South-West? Whatever it takes, will local people do it? Tourism involves fashion, just like clothes, food, entertainment. It must constantly change with the fashion, and change quickly.

"In a global market for tourism, many people would now not even think of coming to the South-West. What they want is: the information they need, quickly enough, accurately and coherently; and the kind of accommodation they want, at a reasonable price. There are too many hotels and guest houses of the wrong kind in the wrong place.

"They want the food they like. People bring their tastes with them on holiday, they don't leave them at home. They want facilities that stay open in the evening. Tourists do not all go home at 5 o'clock. They want attractions that really are attractions.

"Those who are interested in niche markets for tourism want the special attention they deserve. Quality is the essential word."

Local people had to be at the forefront of radical restructuring in tourism and whether with inward investment, tourism or other business, the challenge for the South-West was leadership, above all else. It was the nature of the South-West that nothing would work without commitment delivered through a whole range of local organisations, working together to enhance individual contributions, Mr Heseltine said.

Last night it seemed as though the hotel trade across the southern region had already decided to put its house in order: hotel proprietors are being offered courtesy courses.

Tourism co-ordinators have discovered that foreigners who come to Britain for holidays believe that we do not make enough effort to communicate with them in other languages.

Hotel bosses are being urged to send their staff on the Welcome Host International scheme courses, at a cost of pounds 69 a head, on which they will learn basic greetings and customs in seven different languages.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Financial Accountant - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is available for a par...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This care provider provides hom...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum