With the UK economy beginning to recover from the global meltdown of 2008 at long last, the travel and tourism sector’s fortunes are also picking up. Consumer confidence is returning, and those of us working within the industry need to respond accordingly.
Relatively few people recognise the true value of tourism in Bournemouth (£495 million, 2014 figures). If you work in a hotel, or run an ice-cream kiosk on the seafront, then it is obvious that visitor numbers are vital to your business. But other businesses are also affected.
Tourism has a huge knock-on effect. The owner of a small but successful bed-and-breakfast establishment employs (and pays) a part-time housekeeper. The housekeeper spends some of her earnings, once a month, at the hairdresser’s. Using some of that money, the hairdresser buys sausages from the local butcher.
The butcher does not work in the tourism industry, but take the guests out of that bed-and-breakfast establishment, and sausage sales will suffer. And if the butcher goes bust, the local residents lose out. Attracting more, and more frequent, visitors is vital to local economies and to the national economy.
And visitors, be they holidaymakers or day-trippers, want customer service. If you smile, they’re likely to come back; if you look miserable, they’ll go elsewhere and that butcher will go out of business.