Shadow minister in town for tourism meeting

Words and photo by Dave Barry 

Scarborough hosted a meeting with the shadow tourism minister and the mayor of London’s culture ambassador.

Kevin Brennan MP chaired a discussion at the cricket club with representatives of tourism related businesses from the area. 

The event, in conjunction with Visit Yorkshire, was an opportunity to feed ideas to the Labour opposition front bench in parliament as they develop policies ahead of a general election.

The minister for heritage and arts said: “I am doing a series of round-table discussions with the tourism industry around the country and wanted the first to be in Scarborough as it’s one of our top seaside destinations.

“The Brexit referendum has resulted in uncertainty about the future for many tourism businesses, whether it be about staff skill shortages, the exchange rate or visa issues”.

Mr Brennan said: “I was very impressed by everyone’s ideas for the future of tourism in Scarborough. It gave me plenty of food for thought about policies for helping tourism in our seaside towns”.

Mr Brennan and his researcher Haf Davies stayed at the Ambassador Hotel and spent a few hours exploring the town, wandering around in the warm sunshine.

They had breakfast at the Pier cafe on the harbourside and fish and chips in the afternoon. In the evening, they went to see Napoleon Disrobed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre (SJT). Mr Brennan’s brother Patrick is a professional actor at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.

The meeting was held at the cricket club.

Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and the mayor of London’s culture ambassador, travelled by train from his office in Somerset House, London, via Birmingham, where he had made a speech.

He said he had enjoyed “listening to local businesses about their issues and about how we grow the UK’s fifth biggest industry and third largest employer”.

Mr Donoghue tweeted afterwards: “Spent a great couple of hours with Kevin Brennan, meeting tourism and cultural businesses in Scarborough, listening to their issues including transport, infrastructure, recruitment and staff retention, tax and business rates”.

Also around the table were Woodend director and Scarborough Museums Trust chief executive Andrew Clay; the SJT’s chief executive Stephen Freeman; Jo Lee and Ged Wilcock of Scarborough Hospitality Association; and James and Kim Hodgson from the White Lodge Hotel in Filey.

L-R, standing: Bernard Donoghue, Kevin Brennan and Stephen Freeman. Seated: Andrew Clay, Haf Davies, Jo Lee and Ged Wilcock (to order photos ring 353597)