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UK’s Tourism Industry Needs Stronger Support In Government

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EP}

European Parliament – UK  Tourism

Report – UK’s tourism industry needs stronger support in government

26 March 2015
Reductions in VAT and Air Passenger Duty would offer better value for tourists. Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishes report saying the central role of tourism in the economic activity and life of the country is not given sufficient recognition.

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

The tourism sector, a massive conglomeration of diverse businesses and organisations, contributes billions of pounds to the British economy and sustains millions of jobs. Yet too often, Government fails to factor tourism into its wider decision-making.

Committee conclusions
Support for tourism in England was damaged by the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies without putting in place adequate arrangements for tourism promotion.

With sufficient resources, VisitEngland is well placed to move more decisively into the organisational vacuum left by the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies and the Regional Tourist Boards,  and could better coordinate the disparate efforts of some 200 local Destination Management Organisations.

VisitBritain has shown marked success in attracting overseas visitors, but should remain alert to the need to leverage even more the undoubted lure of London to bring more visitors to other parts of the United Kingdom.

The GREAT Campaign continues to demonstrate its originality and vitality: funding for this campaign needs to be confirmed for a longer period.

Further improvements to visa processing and cost reductions are needed.

Long before it becomes feasible to increase airport capacity in South East England, regional airports could be better promoted to encourage visitors to the UK in general and the regions in particular.

Reductions in VAT and Air Passenger Duty would make the UK offer even better value for money to holidaymakers, business travellers and students: the Government should give full consideration to this.

Too many regulations are ill-fitted to the world of small businesses that characterise much of the tourism industry:  the Government should take forward with greater speed the recommendations of the Tourism Regulation Taskforce, updated as necessary.

Training arrangements and apprenticeships should be better adapted to the features that make many tourism businesses unique, such as seasonality, scale and uncertainty in customer demand.

In view of the potential benefits, not least to the tourism industry, of daylight saving time, we recommend that the Government commissions a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, including the research needed to properly inform this.

Many tourism businesses are small and struggle to have their voices heard: giving people like professional tourist guides a voice on the Tourism Industry Council would be a step forward, but most important of all, tourism needs a stronger voice in Government.
Chair’s comments

John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The tourism sector is a major part of the UK’s economy and creates millions of jobs, involving a lot of small businesses and unique features such as seasonality and uncertainty in customer demand. Given the size of its contribution, there is not enough recognition of or support for the sector or adaptations to its unique features. Tourism needs a stronger voice, and Government should look at how the burden of regulation and taxation on the tourism industry could be lightened to boost its contribution even further.”

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