The latest issues from the Tourism Alliance, of which the GTBF is a member
Lords Inquiry on Brexit
The Tourism Alliance has been asked to provide evidence for the Lord’s EU External Affairs and EU internal Market Sub-Committees for their inquiry on ‘Brexit: future trade between the UK and the EU’. Tourism Alliance members are invited to make comments on a variety of question including what issues exiting the EU may raise for individual businesses and on the various UK-EU trade relationships that might exist in the future. Another question considers the growth opportunities or benefits leaving the EU might bring. More on the Lords Select Committee website and submissions to be with the alliance by 26th September.
Tourism Satellite Accounts 2014
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published accounts for 2014 which reveal that the tax contribution of tourism expenditure in 2014 was £6.9bn. The ONS project that Tourism gross value added (GVA) growth in 2015 will be 3.3%, almost twice the GVA growth of the economy as a whole – which is projected to be 1.7%.
The appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister has resulted in a reshuffle of people and responsibilities. Karen Bradley MP for the Staffordshire Moorlands has been appointed as Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport replacing John Whittingdale and there are now five ministers reporting to her compared to three previously. The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP has been appointed Minister of State responsible for Digital and Culture replacing Ed Vaizey who returns to the back benches. Rob Wilson MP is appointed Minister for Civil Society and Lord Ashton of Hyde is the department’s representative in the House of Lords. Baroness Shields continues as Internet Safety and Security Minister and Tracey Couch as Sports Minister.
Post Referendum Survey
A major new survey of the Tourism Industry released by the Tourism Alliance shows that the EU Referendum result has caused an increase in both inbound and domestic tourism (‘staycation’) bookings. The survey of over 500 tourism businesses throughout the UK found that 18% of inbound tourism businesses (businesses receiving visitors coming to the UK from overseas) and 21% of domestic tourism businesses have experienced an increase in forward bookings since the referendum on 23rd June. Bernard Donoghue, the Tourism Alliance Chairman and Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, welcomed the findings. ‘These result show the strength and responsiveness of the UK tourism industry and our ability to provide employment and growth for local economies throughout the UK.’ Following from this survey, the Tourism Alliance is to develop a Tourism Exit Strategy to consider the main issues that Brexit has raised and future actions to protect and support the tourism industry.
Tourism Landscape Document Published
The DCMS has recently produced a Tourism Landscape document, which aims to further explain the recent changes to the Government’s delivery of its tourism remit including the merger of VisitBritain (VB) and VisitEngland (VE), the reforming of the Tourism Industry Council and the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Group.
Following the publication of the Prime Minister’s Five Point Plan for Tourism, a number of changes were announced to strengthen co-ordination and collaboration across the tourism landscape to include: establishing an Inter-Ministerial Group on Tourism to co-ordinate and oversee action across Government, in addition to holding regular meetings with Tourism Ministers in the devolved administrations to join up action to grow tourism throughout the UK; re-vamping the Tourism Industry Council, bringing Government and industry together to deliver on tourism policy; establishing a new Events Industry Board to co-ordinate and enhance the UK offer on events and exhibitions, with the aim of holding more world-class events in the UK by 2020; changing the governance arrangements of VB and VE, ensuring they work collaboratively to enhance and grow tourism in Britain and England; announcing a new Discover England fund to incentivise England’s around 206 destination organisations to join up to build world-class tourism experiences and products across England.
In particular, the document highlights that funding allocated for VisitBritain is for the promotion of Britain, its nations and regions, overseas stating that ‘a Britain-wide body must deliver for all British taxpayers’. The Government has set a uniform target for VB to achieve an additional 1.5% growth in visitor spend throughout Britain. Further detail on how funding allocated for VE is to support the development of high quality, English tourism offers, including through the delivery of the Discover England Fund, and to attract more business visits and events to England has been set out in VE’s Action Plan. Further details of this and VB’s funding can be found at www.visitbritain.org/our-performance-reporting and find The Tourism Landscape document in full at www.visitbritain.org/sites/default/files/vb-corporate/Documents-Library/documents/England-documents/tourism_landscape_-_2016.pdf
Discover England Fund Criteria Set
VisitBritain have announced the criteria for supporting the first projects from the Government’s new £40 million Discover England Fund. They are proposing to fund 10-15 projects that can be completed by the end of the current financial year, with sums of up to £250,000, and applications can be made from now until 16th September.
They are looking for bids that fit one or more of four categories: Product testing: Do you have the right product? Do you know what international customers want and what your competitors offer? Are local businesses engaged and adopting the product?; Problem solving: Is the product joined up by transport corridor/theme/location/distributor to make it easy for customers to understand, purchase (i.e. bookable) and experience? Is it easy for the trade to access? Does your project help get product to market?; Amplification: Is the product scaleable e.g. domestic product that has international appeal but is not yet bookable or replicable i.e. could be applied across other geographical areas? Is it reaching the customer in the right way i.e. digitally and through the right distribution channels?; New product: Does the product provide new reasons for international customers to explore England’s regions? Does it address a market gap or respond to market intelligence that identifies consumer demand? VisitBritain says the funding can be used for a variety of purposes, but not to fund usual business costs and overheads.
Applicants need to demonstrate that a clear challenge is identified and a high quality, customer-centric solution in one of the four Project Categories is proposed. Outcomes and impacts will need to be planned that produce lessons that can be shared across the tourism industry to stimulate and inform future product development. A clear case has to be made for public funding and the project partners to demonstrate their contribution so the project can move quickly from development to delivery. Support from key stakeholders should be identified and demonstrated. For further information, Q&A information and application forms, please use the following link: www.visitbritain.org/guidance-and-criteria-applicants
The criteria for the Year 2&3 projects will be announced in July.
Fourth UK Tourism Stats Out
The Tourism Alliance published its fourth UK Tourism Statistics report on 7th March as part of English Tourism Week celebrations. Some 89 MPs gathered at the Tourism Alliance Parliamentary Reception in Parliament to hear Secretary of State, John Whittingdale announce that 2015 was a record year for the UK tourism industry. The publication charts the growth of the UK tourism industry and highlights its role in the development of the UK economy. It brings together the headline tourism figures from the three main national tourism surveys and combines them with key information from other studies and publications to provide an overview of the size and value of tourism to the UK economy. As a taster, the value of tourism in 2014 accounted for 7.1% of UK GDP, meanwhile total revenue from tourists in 2015 was £127.4bn. The UK is the eighth largest international tourism destination ranked by visitor numbers and sixth largest ranked by visitor expenditure. To read the full report visit www.tourismalliance.com
What the Budget Held for Tourism
Amongst measures in the recent budget that affect tourism were the following that impact museums and galleries. There is to be a new tax relief from 1st April 2017 for museums and galleries that develop new temporary or touring exhibitions to display their collections countrywide and eligibility for the VAT refund scheme for museums and galleries is being broadened. Other cultural points are a further £13 million being given to Hull as UK City of Culture 2017, £5 million to the Shakespeare North project to establish a new theatre in Knowsley, Merseyside, and £500,000 to Welcome To Yorkshire for an international marketing campaign for the Tour de Yorkshire 2016. The government also supports plans to bid to host the Rugby League World Cup in the North to support the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and invites bids from northern cities and towns to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. Two million pounds is being given towards the refurbishment of the Hall for Cornwall in Truro, subject to planning permission being granted, and £620,000 is to be contributed to Being Brunel: the National Brunel Project in Bristol.