Whitby hoteliers hit out as Regatta row rumbles on

WHITBY Hospitality Association (WHA) has hit back in the row with the Whitby Regatta committee.

Following the leaking of emails claiming to be from members of the hospitality association saying regatta committee members' businesses should be boycotted, regatta president Jane Kenyon demanded an apology.

However, at a meeting of the WHA this week, members condemned Miss Kenyon's comments in the Whitby Gazette.

The row erupted over the clash again next year between Whitby Folk Week and Whitby Regatta. Hoteliers feel the clash is costing them bookings and revenue.

In a statement released to the Whitby Gazette, WHA chairman Tony Charlton said: "We find Coun Kenyon's public remarks (see Whitby Gazette editions Tuesday 8 and Friday 11 September) reprehensible, unnecessary and unhelpful.

"And it beggars belief in the knowledge that on Sunday 30 August, in a face-to-face discussion with the WHA chairman, she announced that she had seen the emails and that a meeting was required, she suggested we wait some time to allow the regatta staff to get over their labours before meeting.

"She was told at that time the emails were private and that no meeting could take place until after the next WHA meeting (which was on Monday) when the issue was to be discussed and a policy decided by the association.

"The WHA is now being portrayed as anti-regatta (and therefore anti-Whitby).

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The regatta is a great event, well-organised and supported.

"So is Whitby Folk Week.

"What the association, and most probably any other tourist-based enterprise or group in Whitby opposes, is the clash of dates.

"We implore the regatta organisers to let common sense prevail and resolve the clash of dates for 2010 and subsequent years without delay."

The regatta committee has suspended all planning for next year's event until it gets a full apology from Mr Charlton and the WHA.

l SEE Letters Extra, page 24.