House of Lords Select Committee on Rural Economy Inquiry Report

The subject specific House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy has published its report on the Rural Economy. Its overarching theme, indeed its title, is about the need for a strategy for the rural economy; it also majors on the rural proofing of other government strategy and policy areas.  At  234 pages it is a substantial report  which covers both England in detail and the other Home Nations wherever Westminster Government still retains primacy for strategy/policy.  For example, the proposed Shared Prosperity Fund that will  be the replacement for current EU structural funding mechanisms across the UK.

For those in rural destination areas or other destinations influence by their proximity the summary page 5 to 19 and the summary of conclusions and recommendations pages 159 to 175 will be of the most immediate interest.  Many of the 126 conclusions and recommendations have direct or indirect tourism relevance; be that from funding, through affordable local housing to transport, education and skills.

Tourism recommendations are specifically mentioned on page 172 paragraphs 107 to 109 which includes discussion of the Tourism Sector Deal and within that the Tourism Zone proposals.  The evidence supporting those recommendations can be found  in paragraphs 530 to 537 at pages 137 and 139 and creative industries in paragraphs 541 543.

It should be noted that, if they are accepted, the Tourism Zones proposals are likely to result in 5 UK, 5-year pilot areas being created. There will almost certainly be consider competition for selection from a range of destination types and potentially far more tourism dependant areas  within the UK  warranting or wanting the status than pilot tourism zones available to cover them, at least initially.  Any expectations of immediate major benefit for all popular tourist areas from the creation of tourism zones are unrealistic and probably need to be managed to avoid disappointment and potential future disquiet.

The report can be accessed at: 2019 Time for a strategy for the rural economy