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Weymouth Mayor Says Tourism is NOT The Most Important Thing

Mayor Kate Wheller

7:04am 8th October 2014
(Updated 8:38am 8th October 2014)

Weymouth and Portland's Mayor thinks too much emphasis is being placed on tourism in the borough.

Councillor Kate Wheller has expressed some contencious views at a Chamber Of Commerce business breakfast.

The Mayor said other businesses are more important than tourism and the tourist trade brings with it economic problems, including too many visitors to Weymouth.

In her speech she said of tourism:

"Its low waged.  Its low skilled and frankly it brings huge numbers of people into the town that put pressure on all the other services in our town.  So it's important but it's not the most important business in our town and it shouldn't be."

Watch her speech here: (Video Supplied By Barry Whettingsteel)

Several people walked out of the business breakfast meeting during Councillor Wheller's speach.

In a statement on her Facebook Page Cllr Wheller gave this reaction:

It seems I upset Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce this morning. It was not my intention to offend but I did want to challenge. I wanted them to sit up and look around at what is happening in other places. We have a great location, much better amenities than other places but if we become complacent we will be overtaken. We must adapt or die. I criticised the standard of service we receive in some local establishments. The hospitality trade is hard and it is competitive. What makes you use one coffee shop over another? Quick service - the right order - a smile? Staff tend to be young, train them well, pay them well and they will repay you and your business. We have cruise ships visiting the town, be ready for guests, don't turn them away because you don't speak German! ( true story) . How about multi-lingual menus? I do believe the BID is concentrating too much on tourism, of course it is important to us, and the events are good for those of us who live here too. But we need more. You will hear a lot about this over the next day or so, please share what I have said. I am not the enemy, I love Weymouth and Portland and I want the best for the Borough. Members of the Chamber of Commerce have a part in making it great."

In a statement to members of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, President Julie Cleaver said:

"We invited our Mayor Cllr Kate Wheller to come along so that she could meet her business community."

"Cllr Wheller decided to use this platform, in front of over 100 businesses, to address political issues which were not directly relevant to all the businesses in the  audience."

"This did not go down at all well with businesses who are not only working hard to make a living but are also working very hard to collectively make Weymouth and Portland a better place to live and work. I was shocked, upset and disappointed that at our invitation to a well-intentioned breakfast, our Mayor decided to vent her personal opinions. Cllr Wheller did have some valid points but this was not the time or place to discuss them."

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