This week, I met local stakeholders to talk about making the most of the tourist economy in Mansfield, writes Ben Bradley MP.
‘Tourists in Mansfield, you must be joking,’ I hear you say.
But the truth is it has so much to offer and part of the challenge in making the most of it and bringing much needed growth to the town comes from local people recognising just how much there is already right here in and around Mansfield.
At the meeting, we spoke about some of the work that is happening.
Things like bidding for the Future High Streets Fund to make improvements to the town centre, and the county council-prepared countywide plan for the visitor economy.
This medium to long-term approach is exactly what is needed over the coming years.
Quick fixes are not enough.
What we all recognised that there is actually so much here already that we can package and offer to visitors.
We looked at a map spreading out just 10 miles from the centre of Mansfield, and within that radius the quality and variety of attractions included Clumber Park, Rufford Park, Newstead Abbey, Go Ape, Sherwood Pines and Center Parcs.
There are more than five top golf courses within that area, along with great kids attractions like Wheelgate Park and White Post Farm.
And there is Sherwood Forest itself with the new visitor centre and scenic walks and natural attractions for miles, as well as what’s on offer within the town itself like the theatre, Water-meadows and the award-winning museum.
Sometimes we are guilty of being a little down about Mansfield, and it has its challenges of course.
However, it also has an awful lot to offer, and work is going on behind the scenes to try and make more of it.
My challenge for residents is this: As this work takes place let’s stop doing Mansfield down and instead promote the great potential and attractions it has to offer.
We are the best ambassadors for our town, and we should all work to promote its strengths.