A busy day in London and two things you might wish to do

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Tuesday 22nd September – a fruitfully day in London representing your interests at a series of meetings, including most notably the Tourism Alliance Board and the VisitEngland (VE) Strategic Industry Advisory Group.

There were lots of positive developments and some worrying challenges report during the day and a number of opportunities  were taken to reiterate the importance of support for the domestic market, in addition to international markets (i.e. the need for both, not just one or the other), the importance of effective local destination management, and the need for continued local government engagement in and adequate local and national public funding for, tourism and the visitor economy to help make destination management and marketing happen.

Much of what was said will now be reported by me to the Board and Executive at their meeting on 5th October and/or to delegates by VE and Tourism Alliance speaker at our annual conference 5th and 6th in Blackpool . Those members not attending  (it’s not too late to book https://britishdestinations.net/annual-conference-october-2015/) will get access to the information via either our meeting minutes or conference presentations which will be posted on Britishdestinations.net in due course.

Two things to raise immediately:

  • The mood around the potential outcomes of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) for VisitEngland  is still pessimistic.  The importance of support for the domestic market, the need for domestic product development  and the need for  VE to have a domestic marketing role, with or without dedicated resource to fulfil it, have not necessarily been recognized or accepted by DCMS or Treasury, whereas the importance of international tourism and international marketing almost certainly has been. Individual department submission to Treasury have to be completed by mid October and headline departmental settlement are due to be announced by Treasury on 25 November. Based on Treasury allocations we will then learn over a period of time the Departmental apportionment to the various  activities and bodies within their direct control.  If you have strong views on the need for VE to maintain a domestic product development and a domestic marketing roles post CSR then it isn’t too late to say so, but it will be soon.  This is best done via spendingreview.representations@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk, copying in the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP using secretaryofstate@culture.gov.uk, and any local parliamentarians in your area. Moreover you don’t necessarily have to be an English destination to effected by a failure to adequately support English domestic tourism or to have a strong view on the wider UK issues involved.
  • VE’s refreshed framework strategy, or strategy for growth as it will now be called is developing well and it will be going out to wider consultation shortly.  For good reason, VE are likely to continue to insist that destination management bodies that they proactively support and work with should have a functional destination management plan (DMP) in place.  I am encouraging VE to take as  flexible approach as is practically possible to what constitutes a DMP, on the basis that if the local plan works for the local business partnerships that underpins any destination, then by default it is functional DMP whatever the form it is presented in.  My top tip for English Destinations wanting to work with or to gain support from VE in 2016 and beyond is to start dusting off and if necessary revising and updating your existing destination management plans in whatever form they take.  Or in the unlikely event of your destination or destinations not having one at all, to start looking at creating plans with your partners that articulate what you do,  for and with whom, why for what purpose and to what effect.

If necessary we will post the existing VE suggested DMP template and source some good examples of real plans for you to look at, once the dust settles post conference.

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