A HIGHCLIFFE businessman is appealing for small businesses to consider setting-up a tourism and business association for Christchurch.

Frustrated by decisions to allow budget hotel groups into the borough, as well as the increases in parking fees and other issues, businessman Bob Denney is appealing for companies, traders and accommodation providers to consider working as one to try and improve the situation.

Bob who has a background within the tourism industry and marketing said: “Some smaller business owners are saying to me, ‘Is it not time to start a local independent group?

“And I would agree. We need to help grow our smaller businesses and tourist visitor numbers without what I see as the increasing council influence over the CTA (Christchurch Tourism Association).

Bob added: “It doesn’t have to just be accommodation or other tourist related businesses, but anyone wanting to find a way to improve our selling prospects to tourists or visitors alike.

“It’s been announced we’re back in recession and of course for many people that will become an extremely deepening and worrying situation.

“Smaller businesses could perhaps get together and find ways through open brain storming ideas to improve our tourist numbers and in turn improve business revenues and profits.

“We certainly will be happy to talk to the council and other organisations about any issues, but as fully independent should we establish such a new group.”

Ann Simon, tourism manager for Christchurch council, said: “The CTA is a totally independent organisation representing seven sectors of the tourism industry from the largest hotel to the smallest bed and breakfast along with attractions and other businesses.

“The council provides secretariat help to the management committee but has no voting rights.”

Email Bob via info@beachmeetsfor est.co.uk.

'We should work closely'

SPEAKING about the feelings of accommodation providers in the borough, John Krajicek, chairman of Christchurch Tourism Association said concerns were high.

“Obviously people are very concerned about the wider economic situation”, said John, who is also a director of Christchurch Taxis.

“And despite what people say there is a lot of discounting going on and people need to put packages together.

“It is difficult to come up with the right format at the moment.

“I think people are just holding their breath – everyone is looking at Europe and waiting to see what happens.

“The government do not give people a lot of credit. They recognise what is going on in Europe and I think people are looking at what is happening with the Euro as a guide.

He added: “I actually believe we should work more closely with the traders.”