Over twenty local hotel and guesthouse owners joined me for breakfast at the Furzedown Hotel, as I hosted my latest policy breakfast. These are a regular opportunity for me to listen to people from a particular business sector or professional background. Recent breakfasts have included meetings with local GPs and headteachers.
As the Great Yarmouth economy is reliant on tourism, this meeting was important on getting feedback from people who have first-hand experience. These people are determined that visitors have a good short-break or longer holiday in the area and will come back or recommend it to friends and family.
We discussed the following issues:
• Accreditation schemes -The diamond and star ratings are not the nest way of grading businesses in Great Yarmouth and we discussed the possibility of introducing a local scheme.
• Business rates – All hotels and guesthouses are rated according to annual turnover rather than the size of property. Not surprisingly, owners believe that this is unfair system turning business rates in to a form income tax. Other businesses are not rated on this basis
• Northern Seafront – Tidying up of this area is a priority, with improved street lighting and additional benches and planting needed. We discussed how the Waterways and the area around it could be rejuvenated making it more attractive to visitors and local residents.
• Localism Bill – New powers give local communities the opportunity to develop local plans to improve an area. In tourist areas, business owners must be at the forefront to make changes.
27th January 2012