Month: October 2015

Conservative Conference Announcements and Tourism

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We are still assessing the implications for tourism of some of the key announcements from last week’s Conservative Conference.  The most obvious and the one exercising most people’s, minds regardless of their specific area of interest, is the proposed change to the allocation of business rate revenues in England.  The devil as always will be in the detail, but many believe that the proposals to allow authorities to collect and keep their own business rates will exacerbate local, sub regional, regional and national inequality in the funding received and, thus, the funding available to fulfil statutory and non-statutory functions, including engagement with and support to business partners and, in our case, tourism and visitor economy partners.  Even the optimistic suggestion that there will be some big winners isn’t a certainty, since that assumes that the entirety of the funding made available to any authority or group of authorities will be adequate for all the increasing costs, responsibilities and duties that are falling to them.  Whatever the outcome there will be some big changes involved and a need to manage the intended and unintended consequences of that change, which is never easy   Very much a case of watch this space.

Meanwhile a far less high profile announcement is also causing some concern.  We are told that parents of children fined for truancy may in future have the fines taken directly from Child Allowance payment, presumably reinforcing the points about parental responsibility and consequences.  It is very unclear whether this is aimed just at obviously unacceptable persistent truancy or whether by default it also targets other forms of unauthorized and arguably less bad (?) absence, including term time holiday taking.  There is a strong domestic tourism lobby that argues that in term holiday taking should be considered on an individual case by case basis (as it once was) and that outlawing it serves to harm the domestic, shoulder month markets and disadvantages a wide range of employees, including those in the tourism industry, who can’t easily take their own family holidays in school holiday periods.  If the new approach does cover in term holiday taking, then it serves to reinforce the Government’s stance against the practice and also makes the lobbying case that bit harder to press. As England is by far the largest provider of domestic holiday makers, this does, if you accept the shoulder month case, have UK wide implications. Again watch this space.

Annual Conference report now available

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A short report on this week’s annual conference together with links to all the presentations given by speakers including James Berresford, CEO VisitEngland and Bernard Donoghue, Director ALVA and Chairman of the Tourism Alliance can now be accessed the following page:

British Destinations’ senior appointments announced

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The 2015 Annual General Meeting on 5 October elected Councillor Iris Johnston (Thanet District Council – Isle of Thanet :- Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs) as Chairman British Destinations.

Gordon Marsden MP, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills was reappointed as President British Destinations.

The following 20 members of the House of Lords, House of Commons, European Parliament and senior figures were also reappointed as Vice Presidents for the 2015 – 2017:

Final version of the conference programme now available

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The full conference programme is now available at:

We can at a pinch take last-minute booking up until Monday morning. Booking forms are at:

Contact me on at: or call 07714341379

British Destinations AGM Agenda Monday 5th October 2015

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The agenda for the Annual General Meeting can be accessed in the protected member’s section of at:

Due to the relatively late publication of the agenda, any items for consideration under any other business will now also be accepted later than normally specified for the AGM.  Item will be taken provided they are received in writing by 1600 on 5th October.  For ease these can be sent in an email format to: .


For any who may be interested the agenda for the joint Board and Executive Meetings being held on the morning of 5th October can also be accessed at:

New appointment for British Destinations’ President

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In case you missed the recent announcement Gordon Marsden MP, British Destination’s President has been appointed as the Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills.  Gordon was the shadow for transport until last week’s shadow reshuffle and has previously shadowed business, innovation and skills portfolio, all areas of strategic importance and concern to tourism and to the visitor economy.

Gordon will be joining us at annual conference next week in his own Blackpool constituency. Final bookings for the event on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th October are now be taken.

More detail at: