Council close to tourism agreement

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Talks are at an advanced stage for the private sector to assume control of Cornwall’s tourism service, Visit Cornwall.

Leader of Cornwall Council, John Pollard, made the announcement yesterday (February 5) during a visit to Cornwall from the Government Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant.

Uncertainty has surrounded the future of Visit Cornwall ever since the Council announced last September that it was looking to end its funding of the tourism body as part of wider public spending cuts. Then last month, all 13 members of Visit Cornwall staff were issued with redundancy notices.

L-R:  Lord St Levan (Chair of the Visit Cornwall Partnership), Helen Grant (Minister for Tourism), John Pollard (Cornwall Council), Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall
L-R: Lord St Levan (Chair of the Visit Cornwall Partnership), Helen Grant (Minister for Tourism), John Pollard (Cornwall Council), Malcolm Bell (head of Visit Cornwall

Pollard said, however, that negotiations were at an advanced stage with various parties for the private sector to take the lead role for tourism delivery in Cornwall.

He said: “Since the Council set its budget in November it has been working with the private sector with the aim of ensuring that the activities of Visit Cornwall continue after Cornwall Council funding stops in April and both parties are close to agreeing to a model of delivery which will see the private sector take a lead on marketing Cornwall as a tourism destination in the future.

“The private sector have been extremely positive and proactive in coming forward with a new model of delivery and I would like to thank members of the Visit Cornwall Partnership for working so hard, over a short period of time, to work with the Council to develop a new model of delivery which is not dependent on the public sector in the long term.

“We have reached an agreement in principle and I am confident we will conclude negotiations in the near future.”

The Tourism Minister met key representatives from the tourism industry during her visit to Cornwall yesterday. Her day began at Tate St Ives, before moving on to the Eden Project, Lakeview Country Club and Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Pollard added: “I am delighted to welcome the Minister to Cornwall to discuss the future of the industry” he said. “I am particularly pleased she is visiting Tate St Ives, which has played such an important role in attracting year round visitors to Cornwall over the past 20 years.”