|From the planning application....|
With bookings in most areas for this summer up significantly and current occupancy rates for some of the providers running at virtually 100%, the need to house all the contractors and sub-contractors on the new schools project was starting to cause serious problems.
Some of the accommodation providers were starting to worry about the conflicting demands on their limited space. With stories of sub-contractors not paying and others trying to renegotiate after they had taken the bed nights, the potential for conflict was quite high. Indeed, some providers had already prioritised the short holiday season, rather than the longer, but more uncertain, schools contract.
But it needn't have been so.
About 2/3 years ago the local tourism providers met with the Council to discuss contingency plans for the possibility of a large number of external contractors coming in to fulfil the schools contract. The concept was to provide long term guaranteed bookings at sharp prices, but which would allow some providers to develop more bed space.
The Council response was to deny that any off-island contractors might be involved. Ever. End of story. Go away.
This takes me back to an earlier post about the Council facilitating private sector growth. The Council doesn't need to control, manage or approve the developments, but it does need to act in such a way that the private sector is not impeded.
In this instance, by simple advance contingency planning we could have had bigger and better accommodation available over a longer season to more tourists; employing more locals and putting more money in local pockets.
But then the Council knew best about the schools, didn't it?