Tourism is not reliable income

Rye and Battle Observer letters
Rye and Battle Observer letters

From: Barry M Jones, Bixley Lane, Beckley

While I completely agree with Cllr Sally-Ann Hart’s comments on the destructive effects upon our rural economy from the rail unions’ strikes, she (understandably) places far too much importance on tourism as the saviour of our rural economy (7/7/17).

Tourism is far too reliant on fickle (often spontaneous) visitors, car-parking and the once in a blue moon, dry, sunny Bank Holiday weekends. Financial benefits from tourism are then often lost in benefits to unemployed seasonal workers. What our rural economy urgently needs is a regular income by which workers and businesses alike can confidently plan ahead and grow. Tourism fails on both counts.

East Sussex and The Weald has been economically depressed since the 18th century decline in iron-making; it was resurrected by hops and mixed farming.

Indeed in the 1960s/70s Rye, Hastings and our villages had buoyant, diverse mixed economies supporting our local farms, forests and fisheries... until they were decimated by CAP and CFP. Then in the 1990s Tony Blair focused on an unregulated Financial Services led economy, while moving our manufacturing base and skills to China; he then encouraged students to avoid dirty-hand skilled apprenticeships and get a useless ‘-ology’ at ‘uni’.

No wonder Britain is in a mess! No one is encouraged to get off their backsides and work, while those who do are pilloried and taxed to the hilt.

In contrast, Germany has a proud work culture where manual workers, technical schools and engineers are held in high esteem. We can once again expand our beautiful countryside and rural economy through agriculture – not concrete jungles – and again become an economic power-house in the free world, post-Brexit, if – and its colossal IF – our whingeing, moaning, self-possessed anti-Brexiteer party politicians, ‘The Economist’ and BBC showed some positivity and support in our future. A positive future which comes through rewards from honest hard work... and not in subservience to fickle tourists and EU funds. Grrrr.