Prime Minister David Cameron champions tourism and culture at county event
The Prime Minister has spoken at an event organised by Oxfordshire’s Tourism and Cultural Agency, Experience Oxfordshire. His visit came a week after the Government announced its new Five Point Plan to boost tourism right across the UK – spreading the benefits of one of our fastest growing sectors beyond the capital.
David Cameron, MP for Witney, appeared at Cogges Manor Farm today at an event in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta and 750th anniversary of the first ‘De Montfort’ parliament.
An audience of local businesses representing Oxfordshire’s tourism, heritage and cultural sector were joined by local councillors and Oxfordshire’s young representatives of the National Youth Parliament.
After speaking to the invited audience, the Prime Minister walked the beautiful grounds of Cogges Manor Farm, meeting local families enjoying hands-on Magna Carta themed games and activities.
The Prime Minister has a special interest in Magna Carta and the history of democracy in the UK.
David Cameron said: “I was delighted to mark the anniversary of Magna Carta in the heart of my constituency, alongside so many people from business and the local community. Experience Oxfordshire does a fantastic job to promote cultural tourism, improving the visitor experience and boosting the economy – and today was just one example of that.
“As I said in my speech, we need to cherish our history, learn from it, and share it with others. Increasing the number of tourists we draw to attractions outside London is crucial to that. That’s why we launched our Five Point Plan to boost tourism last week – and why Cogges Manor Farm was the perfect place to reaffirm my commitment to that.”
The recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Experience Oxfordshire, Hayley Beer-Gamage, also spoke, highlighting the value of our cultural heritage to the growth of tourism, especially in our county so rich in heritage assets.
Hayley Beer-Gamage said: “We have been delighted to welcome the Prime Minister here today. The value of tourism and the visitor economy to Oxfordshire is £1.8 billion and each year we welcome over 26.5 million visitors to our great destination. Culture is an integral part of our offering to visitors: we are proud of our Magna Carta heritage and are sure that visitors will enjoy exploring the legacy of the charter across the many fantastic venues we have in the county that are celebrating it this year.”
The event was sponsored by Hedges Law, a legal firm founded in Oxfordshire in 1789 and VSL & Partners Property Developers, long-standing supporters of cultural development in Oxfordshire.
Richard Venables of VSL and Partners said: “VSL and Partners are delighted to sponsor this very special event which brings together Oxfordshire’s cultural community and its supporters. We firmly believe the economic well-being of the area is intrinsically linked to its cultural diversity which is why we are long term supporters of Experience Oxfordshire.”
Nicola Poole of Hedges Law said: “Established in 1789, and one of the oldest law firms in England, Hedges Law welcomed the opportunity to be a part of this event to celebrate the Magna Carta anniversary. With our history of local community involvement throughout four centuries of trading, we’re now working with Experience Oxfordshire to promote the collaboration of tourism and culture alongside Oxfordshire business.
“With so many of our clients having a personal and professional interest in leisure, culture and tourism in the county, this was the perfect opportunity to bring them together. We are delighted to have had David Cameron’s presence today, an exciting bonus for the many local children who came along to enjoy the day’s activities.”
Oxfordshire’s residents and visitors are fortunate to be able to see an original Magna Carta at the Bodleian’s new Weston Library in an exhibition until September 20th. Many of the young people at Cogges today are part of Find Your Voice, a project between the Oxfordshire County Council Library Service, the Houses of Parliament, arts and cultural organisations, and up to 200 young people, with a focus on the arts and encouraging young people to become more active citizens.