Neath MP Peter Hain has urged Neath Port Talbot Council to look again at the cuts to its Tourism budget because of the effect it could have on local tourism operators and businesses reliant on trade from tourists.
In a letter to Neath Port Talbot Council, the Neath MP said, ‘I of course recognise the dreadful pressure faced within Neath Port Talbot and other local authorities to make savage cuts to its public services, because of the huge cuts imposed by the Westminster Government on Welsh budgets. So I accept you have no alternative but to pass these on in with an unavoidable impact upon local services.
‘But was nevertheless very concerned to hear of the outright closure of the Tourism unit to save costs.’
Asking the Council to look a fresh at the matter and consider a less draconian budget reduction Mr Hain said, ‘Over the last ten years, the benefit to the local economy through Tourism has doubled, providing a vital backbone to support employment and visitor spend which has supported local businesses.
‘There appears to be a growing confidence in the Visitor Economy and I am deeply concerned that the cuts to tourism will have a negative impact on the confidence of local businesses and visitors. In particular, I am concerned about the impacts that the cuts will have on B&Bs, small hotels and other small businesses that rely heavily on tourism within the constituency.
‘Local businesses within the constituency are concerned about the sudden impact the closures will have on their businesses, and I would urge you to consider implementing a more graduated timescale for reducing the Tourism Services so that local operators can adjust.’
Mr Hain has also asked the Council to consider retaining a dedicated officer in Neath Port Talbot as the ‘point person’ for the local tourism industry, and to maintain and update the Tourism website because of the interest and bookings it brings to the area.