MP visits park to fly flag for Lancashire tourism
MP Cat Smith helped celebrate Lancashire's tourism industry this weekend (25 March) during a special visit to Moss Wood caravan park near Lancaster during English Tourism Week.
The event, which runs until 02 April, is designed to put the spotlight on England's tourism sector, and its huge contribution to regional economies and employment.
Ms Smith, who is MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, toured Moss Wood in Cockerham to see how the park attracts many visitors each year to rural Lancashire.
The MP met with the park's owners Henry Wild and his father Syd who first started welcoming guests to 30-acre Moss Wood in the mid-Seventies.
Since then, the family business has invested substantially to create a high-quality destination for the owners of caravan holiday homes, and visitors with touring caravans and motorhomes.
Its accolades include the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level, with the world-famous botanist praising Moss Wood's raft of wildlife initiatives.
The park was also named recently as one of the county's top three environmentally-friendly enterprises in the sustainable tourism category of the Lancashire Tourism Awards.
Henry Wild told Ms Smith that, according to independent economic research, visitors to Moss Wood spend more than £1.5 million in the area every year.
Almost all of that money, said Mr Wild, benefits local enterprises such as shops, cafes, and visitor attractions, supporting the both the businesses and the jobs they provide.
Speaking after her visit, Ms Smith said: "It was a pleasure to visit Moss Wood, and to see the ongoing work to develop the park and to celebrate the beautiful environment it sits within.
"Tourism makes an important contribution to the economy across my constituency, and I'm pleased to be marking the start of English Tourism Week at Moss Wood," she added.
Earlier this year, Mr Wild stepped down from his two-year term as national chairman of the park industry's official body, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association.
Mr Wild's father Syd also served BH&HPA in the same capacity over two decades ago.
The association, said Mr Wild, represents around 3000 UK holiday parks which, latest tourist board figures reveal, accommodated 13.5 million holidays in 2015.
The figure equates to 30% of all holiday nights spent by domestic holidaymakers in Britain, and Mr Wild told the MP that he was proud to be playing a role in a vibrant and expanding industry.
Henry Wild said that this area of rural Lancashire had a special appeal to lovers of the natural world, and his family had tried to create a park which was a match for the magnificent surroundings.
He added that he was delighted that Ms Smith was able to take time out to visit his family's park, and to help raise the profile of English Tourism Week.
Ms Smith, he added, has long shown herself to be a champion of rural businesses, and has given valuable support to expanding enterprises such as Moss Wood.