Councillors overlook Rugby in their advice to tourists

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IT may be the birthplace of a global sport, but Warwickshire councillors haven’t recommended Rugby as one of the county’s top tourist destinations.

In a press release recommending places for tourists to visit, nothing about Rugby was mentioned.

For decades Rugbeians have been frustrated that while Stratford cashes in on its associations with Shakespeare, Rugby struggles to bolster its international profile as the home of one of the world’s most popular sports. Places that were recommended by councillors include Kingsbury Water Park, Stratford-upon-Avon, Arbury Hall and Shipston-on-Stour.

Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals), a Warwickshire council cabinet member and resident of Rugby, chose Henley on Arden as his recommendation.

He said later that it was a shame no one recommended Rugby.

“We’re all bound to do our best to promote Rugby - we have the history here, the transport connections and we need to tell the world we’re open for business,” he said.

“After London, Warwickshire is the country’s second biggest tourist destination and it would be great if we could find ways to persuade people to visit Rugby while they’re in this part of the UK.”

The nominations from the county council’s cabinet members are part of the Share your Great Britain campaign being promoted by the tourism agency Visit Britain.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said: “It’s rather disappointing the councillors failed to recognise Rugby’s links with the game. There is nowhere else in the word that is as synonymous with a globally popular sport as Rugby. As the MP I am committed to spreading Rugby’s image and was delighted to participate in the world’s longest pass between the Close at Rugby School and New Zealand during last year’s world cup.

“We have a great opportunity with the next world cup being played in England in 2015. The world’s media will be focused on the country and us here in Rugby and we’ll have a great chance to promote the town.”