Tourism in Lichfield

The Society's meeting held in the Cruck House on Thursday 18th January was addressed by Mr Richard Denman, former Deputy Director of the Heart of England Tourist Board. He suggested that tourist boards are generally too wedded to economics, whereas he believes that tourism is about people learning about places and people. This should be thought of in terms of enjoyment by both residents and visitors, rather than commercial opportunity.

He then expanded upon the undoubted economic advantages of a thriving tourist centre. The trend towards short stay visits and independent travel, the need to provide high quality facilities and readily available information, attractions for children and families, imaginative things for children to do, packages for school parties, access for those who are disabled and theme related souvenirs were all considered to be of great importance.

Richard Denman then explained that the Tourist Board provided guidance to local authorities and he wondered to what extent the recommendations they had made in 1986, when he had left the board, had been adopted in Lichfield. The question time which followed revealed a lack of enthusiasm for contrived attractions and the relief that had been felt when suggestions for a Caravan Site in Beacon Park and a Military Museum in the Library building had not been imposed upon the City. Mr Denman clearly appreciated members' concern that tourism in Lichfield should not be allowed to make such an impact on the City that its character would be changed and its residents' daily lives significantly affected.

Ivor Mitchell
January 1990