I thought destination mangers might like a little light relief from the daily grind of managing the issues of increased volumes of visitors against a background of restrictions on the volume and value for individual businesses. This weekend, the first Bank Holiday with the majority of business open and most people allowed to travel will be a real test of business resilience, destination management and the patience of a host of visitors which will include some new to the ways of the domestic industry and some might even suggest to the ways of polite UK society.
I am very aware that there are real background concerns and uncertainties surround what the 21 June, the target date for a further return towards “normality” and, particularly, the fact that this uncertainty will last until at least 14 June. This wouldn’t be as much an issue if it were not for the growing concern about increasingly established new variants in certain areas of the UK. One of the issues to be discussed at next week’s destination mangers meeting (more on that below).
As to the light relief I have shared a quick note with colleagues in UK Beach Management Forum about developments around “bathing rivers” of which the UK has none and only one newly established riverine bathing site on the Wharfe in Yorkshire. The growing popularity of wild water swimming combined with environmental commitments to tackle serious issue with river water quality make it almost a certainty that demands for cleaner inland rivers and the reassurance of bathing water status to go with it, will increase exponentially. That brings with it some real and potentially different challenges to those already experienced at traditional coastal of lake based site that are operated on the presumption of high volume usage, at best May to September only.
I guess my point here is that bathing water quality and the associated management of the PR pitfalls is likely to visit itself on many more UK destinations, both inland and coastal in the next decade, than it has done for the last (45 years) since it became EU prompted issue of bathing water quality in the mid 1970’s. I also suspect that it may change public understanding of bathing waters and the current single sample point, 20 tests per session regime which is at best indicative of likely standard, not a guarantee of actual quality here and now. If you have a river of any consequence, or existing coastal or inland lake bathing waters in your patch then see more via the UKBMF site at: https://ukbeachmanagementforum.wordpress.com/latest-news-and-posts-from-ukbmf/
And finally the real point of this up date is to remind all members that the next destination managers meeting, mainly to update progress in stage three and discuss prospects and actions needed for stage 4 and beyond, is programmed for 2pm Thursday 3rd June. Despite best efforts, I keep missing people who have previously participated off the invitation email distribution and don’t necessarily invite all those other welcome to attend but who may not have joined in with this invaluable national updating process. If if you wish to attend and have not had the diary invitation and link (hosted for me by Mark Catherall Sefton Council and therefore from his email address) yet then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy to consider request from non-member guests where it adds mutual value. Please feel free to ask.