MP visiting Dales park promises full support for tourism

Thomas Marshall (left) was told by MP Julian Smith that the government greatly valued the role of tourism

MP JULIAN SMITH has pledged that tourism and Britain’s holiday parks industry will continue to receive the full support of his government following December’s general election.

Mr Smith made his comments on a recent visit to Riverside Caravan Park in the Yorkshire Dales where he met with the owner of the family business, Thomas Marshall.

It was an opportunity for Mr Smith to pay tribute to the multi-award winning park on reaching its 50th anniversary, and to hear its plans for the coming 2020 holiday season.

Mr Marshall, who congratulated Mr Smith on his recent re-election to the Skipton and Ripon constituency, said that his family had invested substantially in Riverside in 2019.

Projects included a £1.5 million development of new luxury lodges and glamping facilities.

However, he voiced concern that there should be no imposition of a tourism tax, such as is being discussed in other regions of Britain, as it would be “entirely self-defeating”

Mr Marshall said that the recent rises in vehicle excise duty on motorhomes could also put the brakes on the staycation boom which has benefitted UK tourism in recent years.

Mr Smith, who represents Skipton and Ripon, said the Government fully recognises the benefits which tourism brings to national and regional economies, and to employment.

For that reason, he added, holiday parks and other tourism providers could be assured that government ministers would always be heedful of any concerns expressed.

During his visit, the MP also congratulated Thomas Marshall on being elected to a senior leadership role with the body representing Britain’s £9 billion holiday parks industry.

Mr Marshall is now the National Vice Chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) to which almost 3000 parks in the UK belong,

In his new post, Mr Marshall has taken on a range of responsibilities, including talks with regional, national and European governments on issues affecting park businesses.

It’s a task for which he is well qualified having helped built his family’s Riverside Caravan Park into one of North Yorkshire’s leading family holiday centres.

As well as developing and expanding the park, Mr Marshall – assisted by his wife Jane and daughter Isabel – has added other interests to his business portfolio over the years.

They include the purchase in 2010 of High Bentham Golf Club, a highly-regarded 18-hole course to which he has added a much admired and locally well-used clubhouse.

During his visit, Mr Smith was invited by Mr Marshall to be his guest at January’s annual conference of BH&HPA which takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster.

Now celebrating 50 years under the same family’s ownership, Riverside draws many visitors to the Dales