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Dorset parks unite to beat promotion cuts

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Holiday park owners in Dorset have vowed to fight recent government cutbacks in spending on tourism promotion by taking on the job themselves.
 
More than 80 caravan and camping parks in the county feature on a recently launched website, www.mydorsetpark.co.uk, aimed at helping maintain Dorset's £800 million-plus tourism economy.

Holiday parks, says the group, are one of the largest providers of holiday bed nights in Dorset  and many of the thousands of jobs they sustain could be at risk if visitor numbers fall.

At present, more than 20,000 people in Dorset work in tourism-related occupations, either on parks or in businesses that depend on spending by visitors.

According to Martin Cox of the West Dorset Holiday Parks Association who developed the website, the county needs to actively promote itself if it isn't to lose out to other areas of the UK.

"Tourism in Britain has been on the rise in recent years, but it's a highly competitive industry and there are many other regions which would dearly love to woo our visitors," he said.

"Unless we go out there and market ourselves vigorously to holidaymakers, Dorset will be playing second fiddle to other more proactive destinations."

Martin believes Dorset could be especially hard hit by the government's cuts in tourism funding and its plan to abolish England's regional development agencies. South West Tourism, he points out, was one of the first victims of the cuts.

The need to provide tourist information, Martin believes, is demonstrated by the thousands of 'hits' being received each month by the new website.

It provides listings and links to more than 80 holiday parks providing holiday homes to rent and buy, and to those with pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

Members of group also intend to market themselves and the website at tourism exhibitions around the country, and by publicity in national media, especially in the run-up to the Olympic sailing events.

"Tourism is the lifeblood of many businesses in Dorset, and supports the jobs they provide," said Martin, whose family business, run with his wife Vanessa, comprises five parks in West Dorset.

"But there is no room for complacency, and we must keep pumping out the message that Dorset is well and truly open for holiday business, and the welcome is as warm as ever."

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26/08/2011 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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