At the International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle, our main occupation is education. However, we also have close links with the tourist industry as our gardens and grounds are open to the public and we also have accommodation for B&B. As part of our commitment to tourism I also sit on the boards of Sussex Top Attractions and 1066 Country in Sussex.
Members are watching with increasing alarm the rate at which local authorities in the South-east are slashing the tourism budgets they work with and cutting the number of dedicated staff for tourism. We're seeing increasing numbers of tourist information centres being closed without adequate investment in future infrastructure to compensate for these losses. This is also happening nationwide.
The alarm and debate about a tourism tax is commendable, but I think many people are missing the real threat of the cuts local authorities are making and how they will impact on tourism and related industries for generations to come. Add to that the increasing car parking charges for both locals and visitors to towns and villages. Never mind the frontal attack of taxation: we should be watching our backs as that attack may prove to be far more lethal to businesses.
Operations director, International Study Centre, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex
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