Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Another Place- is Southport Sefton's only tourist attraction?

'Visit Southport' -a travel blogger on Twitter announced-' it's my home town and worth a look.' True, but on further investigation and following the link to the Facebook page the would be visitor is told that Southport is a "Classic Resort" and seemingly the only place in Sefton worth listing . A small photograph on the home page shows Another Place at Crosby beach by sunset, with no explanation as to where or what it is.
So in the 21st century what constitutes tourism and how should local authorities be promoting it? Surely the days of "resorts" being the focal point as a visitor attraction are long gone. A discerning and well informed population are flocking to places for all sorts of reasons -art, music festivals,nature reserves,vintage sales,street theatre, museums,shopping.
An art installation such as Another Place has massive tourism potential.On several occasions recently whilst there I've met visitors from Spain, coach parties from Bath, film crews from national and international companies.This presents scarce and valuable opportunities for the struggling local economy, but where are the signs to Crosby village or the promotion from Sefton tourism department? Perhaps it would have been more convenient if it had been located on Southport beach, but it's not.
The controversy surrounding the Antony Gormley statues has surely long been laid to rest and it's success as an attraction is evidenced by the numbers of visitors at the site daily in all weathers. Just follow @ironmencrosby on Twitter and read the delightful interactions from visitors (including some celebrities!) to get an idea of their popularity.
So come on Sefton Tourism department (recently stating because of cuts, they're concentrating on the "big four" Southport events) let's see some commitment and vision for the rest of the borough please! But what do YOU think?

Norma Farrell
PS did I mention theTitanic centenary on the horizon and all the Crosby connections with that?