Shropshire Star comment: Tourism is thriving but can’t stall
Perhaps it will come as no surprise to some that Shropshire’s tourism industry is booming. After all, the county is one of the most beautiful in the UK and unlike such areas as Yorkshire, Cornwall and Kent, it remains relatively undiscovered.
The fact it is not an internationally-renowned region, however, does not mean it cannot cope with a large influx of tourists. The county has exceptional natural and built infrastructure as well as plenty of businesses that can cope. And with an increasing number of people opting for a staycation, rather than an international holiday, Shropshire is blossoming.
Much credit should go to the small and medium sized tourist businesses and the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes at the county’s attractions. Credit should also go to those who market and promote Shropshire to people further afield. Their work is leading to sustainable jobs for those in the leisure and tourism sector.
While the picture is rosy, more can be done. In this ongoing era of austerity Shropshire lacks the marketing spend of some rival counties. And so the films, TV and magazine articles that might be organised sometimes go begging. Too often it is left to the entrepreneurial spark of a small number of individuals to shout loud and hard about Shropshire and Mid-Wales when organisers at the centre could take a more decisive lead.
For there is much to commend Shropshire and Mid-Wales to people around the world. The county is blessed with great natural treasures and such areas as the Long Mynd and Wenlock Edge deserve their status as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The county’s history and heritage are equally remarkable. Ironbridge was at the centre of the Industrial Revolution and opened the floodgates to nations around the world. Charles Darwin remains the most important scientific thinker of recent centuries and his legacy lives on in Shrewsbury. There are other sensational attractions, not least the Severn Valley Railway, which is a triumph of craft and endeavour.
And then there’s a commodity on which no person can put a price: goodwill. The people of Shropshire welcome visitors with open arms and frequently volunteer to help out at tourist attractions and visitor centres.
They do what they can to promote the region further afield and showcase the best of the county. We should not take their efforts for granted for they are at the centre of the region’s tourist success.