Along with other Tourism Board members and representatives of Tourism Alliance membership I attended a meeting with Helen Grant the relatively new DCMS Tourism Minister on 23 January 2014.
We were all given an opportunity to give a flavour of a key concern in half a dozen words. I said that we echoed comments made by others around destinations management (structures/funding/public/private sector engagement etc.) and then offered the tourism dimension of the future of the UK high street as possibly the most pressing and least recognised, universally applicable, tourism issue, (rural, urban , coast, City, heritage/market town…) especially in light of the forthcoming business rate review in England and Wales. The Minister willingly acknowledged this concern. In later conversation the importance of the Coastal Community Fund with plus 50% of grants going to tourism was also mentioned by the Minister. Not something that is dear to everyone hearth but critical to coastal tourism. This is one of a number of detailed comments which isn’t necessarily fully reflected in what is intended as a short summary note of key points.
The Tourism Alliance note can be accessed in our corporate website subpage on Minutes and other Board and Meeting Papers from Strategic Partner Organisations. This is a protected page needing the login available to all British Destination members. In addition the paper is caveated as being for British Destinations Members’ Information, not for wider distribution.
Nothing sinister here, it is simply that all Tourism Alliance meeting are held on an informal, semi confidential basis, and in addition as memberships body (like us) they can’t afford to simply give away access to core membership benefits. Members of British Destinations are getting access to the information because British Destinations are representing you on, and paying membership fee to, the Tourism Alliance.
It is probably also worth saying that the Minister has an impressive grasp on the issues at this early stage. This suggesting that she probably already understood many of the complexities and isn’t therefore going to waste too much time learning the ropes or being influenced by some of the more plausible but impracticable ideas that circulate in our industry. She may have come to the appointment relatively late in the life of this Parliament but there is every prospect that she can still make a considerable difference in the time available to her.