Liberal Democrat Councillors Paul Harris and Liz Wade yesterday (3rd April) attended the launch at Blenheim Palace of Experience Oxfordshire's "Oxford Pass".
No Councillor from the ruling Labour Group attended, in spite of the valuable work Experience Oxfordshire does and having cut the award-winning organisation's budget.
The new Oxford Pass, created by Experience Oxfordshire, can be purchased for £69 and gives access for two days to a range of sights in the county including Blenheim Palace, as well as transport on the county’s buses. As well as being a cost saving for tourists, it is designed to encourage tourists to stay overnight in Oxford, so putting more into the local economy than if they just came for the day.
“Experience Oxfordshire” is the County’s tourist Destination Management Organisation (DMO), charged with promoting tourism and improving the tourist experience in the county. This year it has won the coveted Destination Management Organisation of the Year Award 2019 against stiff national competition from larger organisations.
Oxford City Council voted in February to cut Experience Oxfordshire’s budget to nil over the next three years, a measure which was opposed by Liberal Democrats on the Council.
Paul Harris, Liberal Democrat Councillor for St Margaret's, said:
“The Oxford Pass is a major achievement by the small team at Experience Oxfordshire. Organising this type of pass so that it is viable and value for money involves a great deal of work. This is an example of sensible planning in relation to tourism in Oxford which has been lacking for many years.”
Liz Wade, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Wolvercote, said:
“Oxfordshire receives 27 million visitors a year. It is a short-sighted false economy to cut the budget of the only organisation dedicated to improving the visitor experience. I hope that Labour will reconsider its unwise cuts in the light of Experience Oxfordshire’s impressive achievements in creating the Oxford Pass and winning the award as best tourist management organisation in the country”.