As a native of the Ribble Valley – albeit one who now lives in Skipton – I have always been proud of our wonderful tourist attractions.
In the same way, until recently, I was equally proud of the work done locally to promote the area to visitors from all over the country and beyond.
I say until recently because on a recent visit to Clitheroe my wife and I were shocked by what appears to be a major downsizing in promoting the Ribble Valley and its wealth of attractions.
Gone is the wonderful Tourist Information Centre that was previously opposite the White Lion pub in Market Place. When my wife and I asked where we could obtain local information (we wanted to take some local guides and leaflets for friends and neighbours), there were some blank faces before we were referred to the council offices.
Without wishing any disrespect to the staff there, the knowledge and customer service was not of the standard formerly provided in the Tourist Information Centre – nor, for that matter, was the literature.
Despite the widespread cuts, it would be a tragedy if the local authority and related agencies decided to scale down – or even wash their hands of – the local tourism sector.
I have always felt this area’s major flaw is apathy and it would seem this remains the biggest barrier to success. It is all too easy to hide behind the wall of cuts, lack of funding/investment.
I would be most grateful if someone in authority could set out exactly what is happening in terms of local commitment to tourism and its promotion.
Aside of the council and local trade bodies, I feel the media also has a big role to play in extolling this area’s many virtues. Ribble Valley Media, an online radio station did this superbly with a variety of wonderful programmes including sport, music and travel.
Alas, it seems to have disappeared... rather like the local tourist provision.
BRIAN E. HEMINGWAY,