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Norfolk disappointed after Trafalgar Day bank holiday plan abandoned

PUBLISHED: 16:20 07 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:27 07 May 2012

Plans for a Trafalgar Day have been ditched. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Plans for a Trafalgar Day have been ditched. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Hopes of the government setting up a new October bank holiday to celebrate Norfolk-born Lord Nelson’s famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar appear to have been dashed after ministers said they would not explore the idea further.

When the coalition came to power in 2010, they published a tourism strategy to boost the UK industry which suggested potentially moving the May Day bank holiday to October 21; establishing a Trafalgar Day which would see people given time off around the country.

The idea behind the potential move was that the economic boost the tourism industry gets from bank holidays would be more evenly spread throughout the year, as there are already other national holidays around the spring.

The strategy document stated: “This would lengthen the summer tourism season and create new national holidays for our domestic tourism industry to celebrate.”

Meanwhile tourism chiefs in Norfolk believed that a Trafalgar Day in October would have had particular benefits, with visitors potentially flocking to see Nelson’s home county along with the port where he landed after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Great Yarmouth.

But tourism minster John Penrose announced on his blog that having carried out initial consultations with industry figures, his department had found little desire for any change and as a result the government would not bother carrying out a full and formal consultation on any proposals.

A spokesman from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told the Eastern Daily Press: “Following the responses we had to our pre-consultation on whether to move the May Day bank holiday, the Department has recognised the views of the majority who wish to keep the status quo. Therefore there will be no further consultation.”

Even if the consultation had gone ahead there would have been no guarantee it would have resulted in any change, and if it had it would not have been certain that the current May bank holiday would be replaced with Trafalgar Day; there were also calls for St George’s Day to be the new holiday.

Tourism chiefs in Norfolk said that while a Trafalgar Day would have been a welcome addition to the UK’s national holidays, they would have preferred it to have been a completely new event rather than coming at the cost of the existing May bank holiday.

Lydia Smith, director of Norfolk Tourism said: “A good Easter sets the tone for the year ahead and the May Day bank holiday and this year, the Diamond Jubilee weekend, are both key times for short breaks and day trips in the build up to the main summer season.

“Rather than move the May Day holiday to October, tourism in Norfolk would benefit more from an additional holiday around Trafalgar Day in October, giving us promotional opportunities with our Nelson links across the county, especially in north Norfolk and Great Yarmouth.”

A study from East of England Tourism has shown that the industry is worth £2.6bn annually to Norfolk’s economy, creating over 49,000 jobs which account for 14pc of employment in the county.

Peter Williamson, Chairman Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association and owner of Merrivale Model Village Great Yarmouth said: “We would welcome a bank holiday in October, but not at the expense of May Day.”

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: “Having a Trafalgar Day would be a boost for tourism. To be honest a St George’s Day would be good as well. But a Trafalgar Day would mean that we are celebrating something that was very special in our country’s history, especially for our own area.”

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7 comments

  • IMO a Trafalgar Day bank holiday in October would be better than 2 bank holidays in May. It would also be a special day for Gibraltar, still British, as many of Admiral Lord Nelson's ships company are buried there and a service is conducted in the Trafalgar Cemetery every year. Better to separate the bank holidays I say.

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    Christopher Neave

    Monday, May 7, 2012

  • I would like to see a day that honours the immense work of the greatest British admiral ever to commanded a navy vessel, Sir Thomas Cochrane. Nelson was not in his league, not even close. Why not commemorate without having a day off?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

  • No nrg, since when would Nelson "have a fit"? He would've taken view of the whole scene and then done something decisive!

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    Cyril the Canary

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • Why bother with celebrating a minor British engagement (though a hugely successful one from a British point of view) which had, in effect, little impact on the final outcome of a much bigger European war? Why not have Battle of Britain Bank Holiday celebrating a massive and very successful British engagement which had a huge impact upon a big European war?

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    Cyril the Canary

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

  • All politicians would rather keep us as slaves to all their big business chums and have us work until we die, rather than give us an extra days holiday. Just look at how many holidays the rest of Europe gets ?.

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    "V"

    Monday, May 7, 2012

  • Another one bites the dust!!! Nelson would have a fit seeing how politically correct and dumb down, the English nation has become.

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    nrg

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

  • We do not need any more Bank Holidays or reasons for people to have a day off, these so called "holidays" are a total waste of time and money. Nelson done a good job but come on, so have lots of other people.

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    Mr T

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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