Tuesday 26 April 2011

SNP Manifesto 2011

A belated publication of the SNP manifesto - these holidays do play havoc with blog posts - and as with the other posts a potted overview of the key elements relating to tourism. If there is one thing that I have gleaned from just going through the tourism related policy it must be that it exposes both the lie and the truth that is rolled out so frequently by politicians and tourism spokespeople in general that Tourism is the most important sector in Scotland.

The "lie" would at first reading appear to be that if it is so important why is there not more tourism related policy in any of the manifestos and the truth is that whilst tourism plays a role in a large chunk of Scottish businesses there is very little that impacts and effects tourism in isolation and therefore not a lot that politicians can say about it specifically?

Still with me? between now and the election itself we hope to expand on these thoughts further. If as it looks the current SNP government may remain in power the hope would then be that the infrastructure changes that they outlined can be used to benefit tourism but the discussion that needs to be opened up for the future is not one of whether tourism is important or not but just what exactly could and should public money be used for in developing the sector.

We've been as guilty as anyone in the past at rolling out such phrases as "tourism is every one's business" and to an extent it still remains true but for many - and this includes hotels, visitor attractions and golf courses amongst others - tourism is only a part of their business and for some a smaller part of their business than we maybe accept. Reality check time ahead for DMO's, public sector marketing spends, training and development programmes?

If the SNP are going to be returned it would be so good if the rhetoric and soundbites could cease to be replaced by a grown up review of tourism and the wider hospitality sector in Scotland.

Anyway, the SNP manifesto...

"We are determined to maximise tourist growth and draw new visitors to Scotland. Tourism promotion will feature heavily in our ‘All Scotland’ approach to overseas engagement, bringing together important strands including culture, outdoor activities and food and drink. We want to build on the success of Homecoming 2009 and as we approach the second year of Homecoming in 2014 we will deliver a series of themed years
specifically drawing visitors to Scotland to participate in our culture, experience our outdoors and enjoy the celebrations in 2014, the year in which the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup will put Scotland centre stage in world sporting terms. We will further develop ancestral tourism, with a particular focus on family history. Scotland already leads the world in the services we offer to family historians and we will look to build on these foundations to draw even more ancestral Scots to our shores. And we will also put renewed effort into promoting cultural tourism. We will work with some of Scotland’s leading artists as part of a wider initiative to promote Scottish culture abroad; we want these cultural ambassadors to be part of our Big Invitation to the world to visit Scotland. And when tourists come, we will make sure they are aware of the wealth of cultural activity at both a national and local level. Scotland also has huge potential in the growing eco and activity tourism markets and we will continue our support for the expansion of these important sectors."

Perhaps more interesting and relevant than the SNP pretending to be a Marketing and PR company is the commitment to improving infrastructure particularly in transport and digital.

Future Transport Fund
This future transport initiative will see the final £50 million invested in new projects across the country designed to deliver improved connectivity and innovation in transport. This part of the fund will focus on modal shift to help more Scots move to low-carbon and active travel options. It will support an enhanced roll out of the infrastructure we need to ensure a more rapid expansion of electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads. This investment will enable a step change for Scotland to ensure that in terms of connection and climate our transport network is fit for the future and playing its part in our move to a lowcarbon nation in the years ahead. As resources become available we will look to add to this fund and will encourage the various streams to take forward and support initiatives that generate income that can be reinvested to allow the benefits to be enjoyed by more people and communities across our nation.

Next Generation Digital Fund
We will ensure fair access to the digital revolution with a £50 million digital connectivity initiative, called the Next Generation Digital Fund, with the aim of accelerating the roll out of superfast broadband to rural Scotland. We believe people across Scotland should have the same access to the benefits offered by high-speed connection, whether for leisure, business growth or public service delivery. This new initiative will be used to pump-prime and support private sector roll out and take forward community schemes to enhance local connectivity. For example, with the support of local communities, public land could be used to site mobile phone masts which would then be offered to telecoms companies to plug gaps left by the private
sector, to expand mobile and broadband coverage.

Download the SNP Manifesto on PDF

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