Herne Bay’s future centres on tourism – it’s a business model that is tried and trusted, it’s well-understood and it’s sustainable.
It makes sense to make the most of the most obvious quality Herne Bay has – the fact that it’s a nice little town by the seaside.
Tourism is not isolated from the rest of the local economy, quite the reverse. Our vistors – whether coming for a day trip, a weekend, or longer – generate business and spread wealth at every turn. B&B room tabs, restaurant bills, pub rounds, shop tills, even parking meters.
Money, time and effort spent encouraging tourism in Herne Bay is not expenditure, it’s investment.
But Canterbury City Council seems to think differently. Rather than investing in promoting Herne Bay’s tourist offering, they insist on charging people who want to promote our town and encourage tourism.
Any B&B or hotel owner who wants to promote their business on Canterbury’s tourism website has to pay £275, plus £10 per room, plus VAT to get the most basic entry – bare bones facts plus 25 words of text. Times are hard and margins are tight, so this is beyond the budget of most of these small businesses.
As a result, anyone looking at Canterbury’s tourism site could be forgiven for thinking that Herne Bay has just 2 B&Bs – one on Western Esplanade, and one in Herne. A stroll along the seafront will take you past many excellent B&Bs that don’t get a mention.
Canterbury seems to have forgotten that it is in everyone’s best interests to encourage tourism and foster a thriving local economy, rather than to grasp every chance to take yet more money from the local Council tax payers. Instead of acting as an agent of promotion, our Council has cast itself in the role of advertising agency.
Canterbury’s short-term greed could be the death of our town.