According to Visit Britain — tourism in Britain now accounts for 9% of the UK’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), employs 9.6% of the workforce and is one of the fastest growing parts of the economy with 30% of all new jobs being tourist related.
Our area is not known for industrialisation or commerce, we do not have big universities or government departments for employment, and so statistically we have far fewer people of working age and a greater proportion of older people than the national average and pay is below average — this reduces the prosperity of our region leading to lower house prices, fewer services, dying towns and more poverty. We need tourists.
We have the opportunity with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims to attract more tourists. A Visit Britain survey shows that 17 million Americans will visit the UK in 2020; £270 million is being spent in Plymouth over the next few years in readiness and Southampton Council last month approved £400,000 to spend on Pilgrims this year alone in their city. However, our area is at the heart of this story, this is where they came from and this is where the tourists should visit.
But if you go to Plymouth you will find the Pilgrim story is everywhere, street names, statues, landmarks, road signs and more — which is amazing since they just stayed overnight! Our challenge is to transform our town and area into a Mayflower Pilgrim destination and put ourselves on the map. It is calculated that 17 million people will bring £14,280,000,000 to the British economy, we need some of that in Retford! It would be so easy for the tour buses to whistle through our lanes visiting the churches involved but staying in hotels in other areas, and visiting attractions in other counties — and that is what is happening now.
The Hub, located on Churchgate by the Cannon, contains a permanent museum and exhibition about the Pilgrims and we urge local people to visit to discover more, find out about the story and think about what you can do to help. The Hub is also working on a variety of projects and partnering with organisations to promote the town and the story. If you would like to know more visit www.mayflowerpilgrimcentre.uk or to get involved, then please contact through the Hub or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY EVENTS AT THE HUB
- Saturday 5th May, 11.00am — Talk: The Mayflower Pilgrims and the 400th Anniversary. This is a free talk included with a museum entry ticket.
- Wednesdays 2nd and 16th May — Issy Crafty Bees
- Wednesday 9th May — Retford Mayflower WI celebrates its first year.
- Saturday 12th May — Parent and Child Craft, booking is essential on 07880 948941.
- Saturday 19th May — Craft Fair, free entry.
- Tuesdays, 7.00pm — Mindfulness and Wellbeing.
- Thursdays, 1.00pm — Drop in art with Cath Ray.