Hit the North returns from a somewhat enforced break with a question: did we give up on tourism around the Northwest?
After all, when I first started this blog’s latest incarnation in January 2010, the central theme was exploring my own backyard – the diversity of the area from Cumbria to North Wales and all those in between. I found plenty to celebrate and met others who shared my enthusiasm.
But during my recent hiatus I’ve noticed a decline in efforts to keep the tourism momentum rolling. Should I call time on Hit the North?
The issue is, of course, money. The Northwest Regional Development Agency had its funding withdrawn under Government spending plans and is currently being wound down. It will finally close its doors around Christmas; read more here.
Responsibility for tourism promotion has been handed back to the five regional tourism associations. They, in turn, have suffered those now-infamous swingeing budget cuts despite a pledge by Prime Minister Cameron to make Britain one of the world’s top five tourist destinations in the world.
I know for a fact that Cumbria Tourism still has a marketing effort, albeit a reduced one. I’ve worked with them recently and you can read about the trip here next week.
I’m not looking for a red-carpet fanfare but I am keen to find new angles on familiar destinations and uncover real stories behind the mundane.
Is money tight, or have they just run out of ideas?
Either way, I think silence is a mistake. The diversity of the region is as rich as ever and tools available to tourist boards are cheaper, more user friendly and more readily available than at any other time.
So I’m not throwing in the towel. Over the next few months Hit the North will be staying vehemently close to home and trying even harder to uncover stories from across the region. I may be ploughing a somewhat lonely furrow at times but at least I’m trying.