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Magnet for tourists or just a cash cow?
A few weeks ago someone wrote to The Press about the incredible cost of a pork pie on one of York’s many festival markets and I, being a huge pork pie fan, concurred and asked if York was not branding itself ‘‘rip-off city of the North’’.
In the last few days we have had a plethora of letters complaining about the ill-received illumination event in Museum Gardens, with some stating that it was badly organised and not worth the money.
Now I read of a fireworks fiasco on the Knavesmire, with many disgruntled customers leaving early because of the problems.
I have to ask if York really does wish to be a centre for tourism or just a greedy, short-term ‘‘get rich quick’’ cash cow to fill the depleted coffers. We have letter writers confirming that since the litter bins were taken away, the city has become dirty and litter-strewn.
In the past few weeks when the air was still and foggy, we had the foul smells from Harewood Whin drifting over York and I heard several tourists saying how it was making them feel ill.
At the Park & Ride at Rawcliffe Bar, tourists and residents were chatting about the evil scents from the nearby sewage works. This is hardly welcoming on the main bus route to railway museum.
Buses themselves are expensive and unreliable.
I have experienced several buses not turning up when scheduled and the parking charges are outrageous compared with other nearby cities and towns. Narrow cycle lanes in and out of the city are placed on major through routes rather than dedicated off-road tracks, so who can blame the cyclists for scaring tourist drivers by bobbing and weaving.
Even so, the tourists keep flocking in, but I believe this is in spite of rather than because of the city’s philosophy.
The tourist trade needs a co-ordinated, joined-up approach. It’s no good putting on a show to attract the crowds and then finding the infrastructure is incapable of coping.
The council, the organisers and the tourist bodies can only say “sorry” so many times before they find the visitors dwindling. Ratepayers pay a premium to attract tourists and right now we are not getting value for money.
Bob Redwood, Main Street, Askham Bryan, York.