MAN ABOUT TOWN

TIME TO THINK ABOUT TOURISM

Yes, this might be a strange headline when lots of tourism activity relies on attractions being open and events taking place – and in the Covid-19 world it’s a challenge to say the least.

But a handful of attractions did open post-lockdown and events, be it smaller scale, have taken place. It’s proof that we’re resilient and us human beings will always find a way when adversity stares us in the face.

None of us can predict what 2021 will bring but I’m a firm believer in never giving up and planning where possible until such time when we’re told by the powers that be that we need to adjust those best laid plans.


However, the challenge they face is that Peterborough hasn’t had a dedicated tourism focus for a number of years and Covid-19 is threatening to push it into oblivion.

In recent years I’ve attended tourism forums, visitor economy focus groups, committees and anything else you want to call them. A reoccurring theme almost always emerges from them, which is lots of organisations are working towards a better Peterborough for visitors and residents alike, but none of it is joined up.

I’d hear moans, groans and general frustrations about the city not having a destination identity apart from a cracking cathedral, a passport office and a load of betting shops where independent retailers should be.

Tourism isn’t a statutory deliverable for the local authority and our city council would currently argue they have bigger challenges to overcome, as Covid-19 continues to stretch the Town Hall’s already fraying purse strings.

So, in 2021 I’d like to see the likes of Opportunity Peterborough, Peterborough Positive (the new business improvement district for the city centre) and City College Peterborough and Peterborough Limited (both delivering the previous responsibilities of Vivacity) all work together towards a common goal of creating and delivering, with sustainable outcomes, a destination management plan for the city, which is spearheaded by a good old-fashioned tourist information hub.

But nothing will properly materialise or deliver its potential without investment and by that, I mean allocating funding and identifying people who pull their sleeves up and have a track record of achieving.

Up until this year we used to have a Visitor Information Centre on Bridge Street. And because of a lack of investment in tourism, footfall in the shop wasn’t particularly high and the website that supported the service wasn’t particularly fantastic.

But the team that worked in the shop were bursting with local knowledge and enthusiasm. The shop closed after Christmas and a reincarnation of it has been launched online in the form of www.peterboroughgiftshop.com

It’s been set up to raise the city’s profile alongside the Visit Peterborough website, www.visitpeterborough.com and it’s an outlet for artists and other creative individuals to showcase their work, as well as serving as the essential go to shop for Peterborough-branded souvenirs.


All three have the experience and vision for what it takes to reignite tourism but they can’t do it alone. They also need to be seen and have profile, which is why I would love to see some kind of tourism hub as part of the plans to create a new city centre library in the TK Maxx and former New Look buildings on Bridge Street.

Now, wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction to get us thinking about tourism again…

COYOTES TRAILBLAZING THROUGH COVID 

It’s great to see a new and independently-owned business open during the pandemic.

John and Neil, owners of Coyotes Bar & Grill in Northminster, are two brave men opening a business in such uncertain times. But like most operators with an entrepreneurial spirit, they’ve realised we all need a reason to get our glad rags on and look forward to something more than we ever did.






PLOUGHING FORWARD WITH LIVE BANDS 

It’s all a bit doom and gloom again with government implementing tighter Covid-19 restrictions because not enough of us are applying common sense – and of course outside the weather is miserable like a scene from the movie Seven.


This means – weather dependent I might add – you can listen to live bands playing outside the Ploughman every Sunday night.

Now, if that doesn’t perk up your Sunday ahead of Monday blues then nothing else will. Well done Andy and keep up the good work.

SWIPE RIGHT IF YOU’VE GOT A MERC

According to Click4Reg the type of car you drive increases and decreases your chance of receiving a Tinder match.

My first thought is why would your profile photo be of your car unless you wanted to attract someone with an exhaust pipe fetish.

The Toyota Yaris comes in as the least attractive car from the research. I find this hard to believe since the humble Yaris is often the choice of delivery vehicle for my local Indian and Chinese takeaways – both of which have given me more pleasure than Tinder dates.

The most attractive car to Tinder users is the Mercedes-Benz-C-Class, which sums up the state of the online dating world and some people’s expectations of it.

What’s worse is that 45% of daters would be turned off by a Tinder profile that shows off an old or outdated car.

This is why my profile doesn’t include a photo of my car. Maybe women will be turned on by photos of my love handles and hairy back instead.

MASKING OVER THE CHANCE FOR LOVE?

Apparently, face masks are putting a damper on singles looking for love because they can’t see if those they meet are giving them smiles of encouragement.


I’m in that one in four. This isn’t meant to sound shallow but for me good teeth are everything.

A woman may own a C-Class Merc, have the personality of Holly Willoughby (and some of her other traits) and can make fudge tart like Pete at Fletton bakery but if I can’t see the teeth then it’s a deal breaker.

For me it’s always been get your teeth out for the lads.

KING AND QUEEN OF BEERS

Eddie Baines is a Brewer and Beer Maven with over 25 years’ experience in the beer and hospitality industry and what better way to put that knowledge to proper use but to open a bottled beer shop!