Government’s Five Point Plan to boost tourism

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    The Government’s new five point plan to boost UK tourism has been announced by Prime Minister, David Cameron (see this note we published for the BHA on Facebook earlier this month). Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale identifies five key points to encourage the growth of the tourism industry as follows:

    1. A better co-ordinated sector: the sector is too fragmented – we want to see local attractions and tourism organisations collaborating to grow the sector for everyone not competing.
    2. Skills and jobs: Driving and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth
    3. Common sense regulation: Reforming regulation sensibly to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors
    4. Transport: Forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors travel outside of the capital
    5. An improved welcome: Delivering a world class welcome at the Border

    Although recognising tourism as one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, Cameron does not support the cut to VAT within the industry – as campaigned by Cut Tourism VAT and supported by big names such as Dermot King, Managing Director of Butlin’s. Reducing the rate of VAT aims to stimulate investment, creates employment and boosts growth. Staycationing in the UK would therefore be a more attractive proposition for families who would normally book a holiday abroad – on occasion, a cheaper alternative.

    We have also seen efforts to encourage Chinese visitors through the creation of new visas, but some worry that the focus on UK tourism is still London-heavy and that more needs to be done to promote other areas within the UK if the government is to create the jobs it requires to rebalance the economy and get more people into work.

    Travelodge has recently announced its summer recruitment drive, advertising 750 new jobs ranging from maintenance staff to managerial roles and admin staff at their head office in Oxfordshire. This is a fantastic boost to the economy and an encouraging step in the right direction.

    Peter Osborne, General Manager of both the Brudenell and White Lion Hotels in Aldeburgh, hopes the plan will help develop Suffolk’s potential as a top tourism destination:

    “Suffolk, and in particular the stunning Heritage Coast, has a huge amount to offer the visitor and is under two hours from central London. Here in Aldeburgh we have a thriving arts and cultural scene, wide beaches with some of the finest fish and seafood landed on the seashore, and a delightful mix of independent boutiques, galleries and places to eat.

    “We look forward to working closely with local and national tourism associations to raise awareness of our stunning destination and maximise its potential. It’s vital to ensure visitor have the best possible experience every time so that they tell others, which in turn will create more visitors, and more jobs, strengthening local economies to the benefit of all society”, added Peter.

    What are your thoughts on the new Five Point Plan? Do you think a London-based government scheme can drive a UK-wide tourism plan effectively? Tweet your responses to Lorraine @hoteldesigns.

    Daniel Fountain / 30.07.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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