Sod’s Law, almost the moment I published yesterday’s sermon on perceived transport issue (here), Great British Railway (GBR) sent me, as one of 307 respondents, a link to the report detailing the responses to their recent consultation on their “whole industry strategic plan”.
Is important because, these responses will help inform the strategic proposals to be put to HMG later this year on the 5, 10 and 30- year strategic plan which, in current extraordinary circumstances, will almost certainly see some very big changes to the railway network and rail travel. The report and its influence on future direction is therefore of great importance to an industry, like ours, that is utterly dependant on transportation and the movement of people to and from the product to be consumed etc. You all know the script as well, if not better, than I do, but there is no harm in repeating it here and everywhere for the benefit of the vast majority on the fringes and beyond what we do, who may never of even have thought about, let alone, recognised such basic truths.
The report at 90 pages of largely tightly printed text is a big and time-consuming read. To assist colleagues the highlights and the shortcuts are:
1. First the disappointing news. Of the 307 respondents only two are identified as being “a tourism body”, us and the Tourism Management Institute. Clearly best efforts on our part to alert the wider industry didn’t work as well as I might have hoped. No matter because:
2. A significant number of the respondents were from Regional, local and combined authorities (41) which, judging by the list of respondents, have clear tourism, leisure, events, culture, arts and general visitor economy related comment to make. It is also likely that a good percentage of other general categories, like for example the 57 responding as individuals, would have responded from a “tourism” perspective or included it. I can be fairly confident that this is the case because, although not an overarching theme of the summary of responses, pretty much all the major concerns raised by British Destinations and, I assume by others, pertaining to our sector’s interests are feature somewhere in the report spread across around a dozen, often short but nonetheless important paragraphs.
3. The easiest way to tackle the report, in the first instance, is to use the search icon, noting as you do that the report uses differing terminology and with differing meaning to that we might routinely use (here).
Here’s what to look for:
Read “Next steps” page 85 and 86, either before or after searching for the words:
Tourism: appears only three times, in two important paragraph and once in the name of TMI in the list of respondence! Don’t be despondent, for tourism, read leisure.
Leisure: appear thirteen time in nine important paragraphs. Key point: Leisure travel is clearly the key phrase to use whenever referring to anything to do with visitor economy related travel and GBR.
Destination: once but linked to the word leisure above (leisure destination) so you have already seen it.
Hospitality: twice, once in importantly its own right and once as, “tourism and hospitality”, already seen above.
Entertainment: once, but in the context of, ” retail, entertainment, hospitality” already seen above.
Retail: six time, of which four appear alone and are not already picked up somewhere above.
Economy: Not unsurprising appears 28 times but never as Visitor Economy. Visitor and visit don’t feature anywhere in the report.
Other word, you might think of using but don’t need to are: Arts, appear numerous times but disappointing only as the word “parts”. Culture is in railway speak a custom, social behaviour or a way of doing things, not as we regard it a manifestation of human intellectual achievement. Similarly events are things, usually bad or unplanned, that happen, like poor weather, not things that in our world you travel to take part in for work, leisure or other purposes.
I may have missed some key term, just can’t think what though? You’re welcome to read the full report if you want; I tried and eventually gave up. In all seriousness, if you do find anything critical that I have missed then please let me know so I can inform everyone.
Tongue in cheek perhaps but I do now start to wonder how much of my comments on say culture and events didn’t quite register as well as they might have, for want of me being from another “culture”? Note to self: more care perhaps in use of language needed in future discussions with GBR and other rail interests?