Derek Thomas MP welcomes Google’s ‘Digital Garage’ tour to West Cornwall

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas opens Google’s ‘Digital Garage’ event at the Exchange Gallery, Penzance.

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas joined dozens of local representatives from the  tourism and hospitality sector in taking up tech giant Google’s offer of free digital skills’ training earlier on Tuesday.

Google’s pop-up ‘Digital Garage’ took place at the Exchange Gallery on Tuesday, delivering workshops with a particular focus on helping tourism and hospitality businesses acquire the digital tools needed to attract even more visitors.

In partnership with Visit England, The British Hospitality Association, The National Coastal Tourism Academy and Ukinbound, Google has been touring the UK’s coastal towns to provide one-to-one free mentoring and workshops to anyone interested in learning or furthering their digital skills.

Mr Thomas said that upgrading these skills is vital if local businesses are to survive and flourish in the future.

“Recent research by the Social Market Foundation has found that in 85% of coastal areas people earned below the national average in 2016 which indicates that initiatives such as Google’s Digital Garage and the government’s Coastal Communities Fund programme are hugely important,” he said.

“The absence of good digital skills can be a real barrier to growth for some small businesses and this welcome visit from Google will help people enhance their skills and ensure that they remain competitive in a global marketplace.

“More than 50% of international visitors currently only visit London when they come to the UK and I am keen to see that West Cornwall gets a bigger share of this market.

“Travellers are becoming more and more digitally connected and so investing in digital skills will go a long way to helping us achieve this objective.”