Paul Maynard MP, APPG chair, visits Flanders

Paul Maynard MP meeting Mr Geert Bourgeois, the Flanders Government Tourism Minister in August 2012.
Paul Maynard MP meeting Mr Geert Bourgeois, the Flanders Government Tourism Minister in August 2012.

One of the pleasures of my work is meeting really nice people.  And Paul Maynard MP is one of those people.  He was part of the new intake of MPs from the 2010 general election when he was elected in Blackpool North under the Conservative banner.

I met with him just a few months after the election when he agreed to be chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism.  Since then he has been a champion of social tourism in the Commons and has provided advice and guidance to the Family Holiday Association ever since.

Paul led the APPG inquiry into social tourism which resulted in the publication of the report  Giving Britain a Break

2011givingbritain_a_breakHe has also helped champion our work with organisations like Marketing Blackpool and Visit Kent especially after his visit to Flanders where he saw at first hand how Tourism Flanders operates a very cost-effective social tourism scheme that could easily be replicated here in the UK.

On Wednesday this week, I sat down with Paul in Portcullis House (the modern building across the road from the Palace of Westminster that houses MPs’ offices) to discuss how best to use an introduction we have recently got into David Cameron’s office.  All the talk was about the Autumn Statement that is due shortly and the writing of manifestos for the coming General Election in May next year.

Of course, here at the charity we have known that to get the subject of social tourism on the political agenda has always been a matter of playing the long-game but you have to take every opportunity to increase the visibility and understanding of the the subject.  And if you get the opportunity to put the case at the highest level you have to take it.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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