Friday, 26 August 2011

Lib Dems demolish Tory claims on Olympic torch spend

Congratulations to my colleague Edwina Hannaford who has demolished the claims being made by the Conservatives on Cornwall Council as they try to justify spending £135,000 or more on hosting the Olympic torch for a single day.

The Conservatives claim that Cornwall will get more than 10,000 extra visitors and each will spend £275 per night when they are here. Edwina has proved that visitors actually spend far less than that (just £94 per night in hotels and B&Bs and £54 per night in self-catering). The Tories seem to think that the mere presence of the torch will convince visitors to spend three to six times as much as they would normally do - 'Olympic rapture' anyone?

The Conservatives are also claiming that 10,000 or more people will travel from Devon to watch the procession in Cornwall - conveniently forgetting that the torch will go straight from Cornwall to, er, Devon and so they can stay at home and see the procession pass through their own town the next day.

As much as we want to use the start of the Olympic torch procession to boost our visitor numbers, it seems that the Conservatives are resorting to made up numbers to justify spending thousands of pounds on the procession which could otherwise be spent on frontline services.


Al said...

So what would the Lib Dems do if they were in control? Send a note to London saying we can't afford it, you may as well start the torch in Torquay?

Alex Folkes said...

We'd welcome the torch with open arms, but we'd avoid spending the unnecessary extra cash.

Cornwall Council and CDC have a wide reange of great staff including media people, community workers and project officers and we would put some of their time into this rather than employing an extra person for this job alone.

We'd use the current CDC and Council budgets for any additional spending and for promotional work.

We'd recognise that the torch is beginning its journey at Lands End and we are guaranteed first day media coverage.

Most importantly, we wouldn't try to use unrealistic numbers to justify our spending, thus proving just how little we understand the tourist sector.

Al said...

Surely there are more important issues which you need to be dedicating your time to?

This just comes across as opportunistic politics and petty points scoring.

petew said...

Torquay is a good place to start from