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Diversity and balance key to creating better jobs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 24, 2012

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There is, as we all know, a danger of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Diversity, whether it be in your diet, your investments or in the make-up of the local economy, is crucial to sustainable and well- balanced success.

With a significant spread of options, there will always be somewhere to go if a particular part of your portfolio is struggling.

Today we report that tourism is more important to Torbay than it is to London.

As many as 16.7% of all jobs in the popular resorts of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham are in tourism and associated industries, according to figures that have been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Within London, tourism industries only account for 10.4% of the capital's overall employment.

In Wales, tourism contributes to as much as 9.6% of total Welsh employment.

The figures also showed there were 2.7 million people with jobs in tourism industries in the UK in 2011 – a 9.1% share of total employment.

That Torbay has a lot to offer tourists is without doubt.

The "English Riviera" has for decades been a summer holiday destination for tens of thousands of visitors every year. It is a critical element of the South West's visitor economy as a whole.

But there is a danger that Torbay could become too reliant on its tourist trade.

This concern was echoed earlier this week when Torbay council announced its pivotal Landscape for Success proposals.

The plans include creating 5,000 quality new jobs in the Bay by 2017. This will go some way to moving the area's economy forward and away from over-reliance on low-wage seasonal jobs in tourism.

The long awaited Kingskerswell by-pass gives Torbay the opportunity.

Tim Godfrey, from leading accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, has led calls for diversity in the new bay economy, and he urged that while tourism was important it must not be the bay's only offering.

In an interview with the Western Morning News on Thursday he warned: "The alternative is that Torbay remains a sad-case, with every job governed by the tourism sector's low-wage formula, and providing a commuter base for higher skilled people to travel to Exeter."

Torbay's challenge will be to provide the necessary high-quality work spaces that, alongside the outstanding quality of life all of the South West offers, will help attract new employers.

The plan is in place, as it is in many areas of Devon and Cornwall.

The real challenge now is to make those plans reality.

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Some extraordinary scenes have been reported in the last few days as all of the South West has been battered by torrential rain and high winds. More is forecast for the weekend. We urge all our readers to take the utmost care if they are out and about.

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