Having efficient transport links is one of the biggest determinants of the success of an attraction – second only to having good weather. If people can’t get there, it won’t thrive.
As well as ensuring we position attractions in locations with great transport links, we must have a strong eye for sustainability and encourage people to travel by train.
This thought was going through my mind recently when I spotted a public information poster at my local railway station shouting “Do not travel this bank holiday 24th-25th August 2019.” It went on to say, “We’re starting work to improve services...and we strongly recommend customers do not travel by train on these days.”
The advert was sponsored by ‘The UK Government’ and also by six major train operators.
What were they thinking? Bank holidays are some of the most important times of year for families and friends to visit attractions. Discouraging them from doing so, and doing so sustainably, is bad for attractions, bad for tourism, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.
At the same time as attractions in the northern hemisphere are ramping up summer holiday promotions and government tourism departments are promoting travel and attractions visits, this counterforce is marketing against them, and doing so using tax-payer-funded marketing.
The scenario isn’t confined to the UK. As a global publisher, we get reports of a lack of joined-up thinking from all over the globe, with a range of government departments simply not communicating when it comes to policy which impacts the tourism and attractions industries.
The international attractions community must come together to create a charter of best practice expected from policymakers around issues such as this and to tackle governments to get them on-side in supporting the industry.
There’s clearly a lack of awareness of the impact this kind of messaging has on both the attractions sector and the opportunities which are available to people to travel by train to enjoy their leisure time in a sustainable way.
We need to unite as a sector to clearly articulate a better way forward, whereby government departments collaborate for the greater good of the industry to avoid such conflicts.