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Why throw good money at bad airport?

In the hope of finding why KCC are peeing our money away, we’ve asked Sharon Dawson (top banana at Visit Kent) some simple and obvious questions. We’ll let you know what, if anything, comes of them.


Dear Ms Dawson,

I understand that Visit Kent has been given £100,000 of public money in order to ‘market’ KLM flights at Manston.  My understanding is that you believe that this money is to enable you to bring visitors into the county as tourists to the county in order to spend money in the county.

I would be grateful if you could answer some questions.

1. What research have KCC or Visit Kent done in terms of revenue brought specifically into a county that has a regional airport? The research I have undertaken shows that regional airports are exporters of tourists to a very significant degree and that even those visitors they do attract  tend to head straight for major tourist centres, most notably London, Edinburgh, Glasgow etc. could you provide me with some concrete evidence that you have that shows significant revenue streams from incoming tourists at comparable regional airports?  I am assuming that such research must be available or such a significant sum of money would not have been committed to a privately owned operation?

2. Exactly how is this money to be spent and where? Given the aim is to attract foreign visitors – which countries/cities/areas are to be targeted and on what basis? I would like confirmation that no money is to be spent advertising outward bound routes given that simply takes money OUT the county. The UK’s tourism deficit is already greater than in any other country so it hardly benefits our ailing economy, both local and national to spend public money on persuading people to spend their money abroad.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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6 comments

  1. Maybe they should be called ‘Leave Kent’!

  2. Kent Resident

    I am disgusted that Visit Kent can afford to throw away 100000 of public money in such wasteful ways. Spending any amount on Manston Airport is as good as dropping it down the nearest drain ! In these days of real hardship it beggars belief that these people have so much to waste on airports and advertising a foreign company. It will never be recouped.Whoever gave permission for this should be sacked, without any bonuses ! Another desperate air-brained idea by Paul Carter (Leader of KCC) no doubt. He must have shares in the Airport !That money should have been spent on the much needed tourist information centres , instead of closing them down !

  3. Kent Resident

    I am disgusted that Visit Kent can afford to throw away 100000 of public money in such wasteful ways. Spending any amount on Manston Airport is as good as dropping it down the nearest drain ! In these days of real hardship it beggars belief that these people have so much to waste on airports and advertising a foreign company. It will never be recouped.Whoever gave permission for this should be sacked, without any bonuses ! Another desperate air-brained idea by Paul Carter (Leader of KCC) no doubt. He must have shares in the Airport !That money should have been spent on the much needed tourist information centres , instead of closing them down !

  4. I would have thought that they are going to target areas in Holland? which in effect will also mean that money is going out of the county. I agree that some form of advertising has to be done to generate interest but why is KLM not doing this themselves? It beggars belief that the council can suddenly find that hugh amount of money without it seems in doing there "homework" when there is such urgent other matters to deal with. It llooks like that we are going to have to pay more council tax to fund this I bet it will be around 1.96% more so just getting under the governments 2% ceiling so avoiding public debate etc.

  5. Given the state of our roads we wont be able to get to the airport soon and the poor Dutch will be stuck there when they arrive. KCC need a good kicking! Fix the roads, what are you doing advertising for KLM. Jullie zijn nix meer dan een stelletje eikels!

  6. Craig Cleveland

    Could have been worse – they could have invested 3.3 million in a ferry company that went tits up… All in the interest of local job creation, of course.Someone should add up all this money that has been invested in ‘kickstarting’ the local economy and divide it between the residents. Maybe everyone could have had enough to not worry about working or better still to set up their own businesses that might really generate a local job.