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Never Mind the DFLs, Here Come the DFRs

Posted on: August 29th, 2013 by Jules
Make sure we talk to tourists

The article appeared in this week’s Whitstable Times. Tourists were left asking others whether the local oysters were safe to eat and whether they could let their children swim in the sea.

With the tourist season in full swing, the Canterbury & Whitstable area is abuzz with chatter in every language between mouthfuls of ice creams and oysters.

Those who used to bemoan the DFLs must be looking for new acronyms to protest against the down from Russia’s, Japan’s and every other country.

Tourism has never had such a boom in our towns.

So what more could those businesses enjoying the tourist euros and rubles ask for? That was the question posed by Visit Kent, which emailed companies a questionnaire to help develop its business plan for a “successful future together for our visitor economy.”

I was quite stuck for ideas. It didn’t seem our towns had space to accommodate more tourists.

And then came the sewage.

With very little clear information to go on, those tourists who heard the rumours of a sewage leak were left asking others whether the local oysters were safe to eat and whether they could let their children swim in the sea.

There were no signs on the beaches, with the exception of one I spotted on a beach hut used by the RNLI. And with Whitstable’s biggest food fair, there was no general notice at the Oyster Festival.

Some weeks after the spill, the Environment Agency and food safety watchdogs came out with a clean bill of health for our beaches and sea food. It would have been more reassuring to have had that message made loud and clear at the time.

So, what more be done to plan for a “successful future together for our visitor economy”? In a word, communicate.

Have you business news? Tweet me: @JulesSerkin. Tune in to The Business Bunker 1-2.30pm LIVE every Tuesday on Channel Radio or attend a Tweetup www.KentBusinessTweetup.co.uk which resume in September.

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