Month: November 2015

Destination BIDs update

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Those of you following the progress of Destination Business Improvement Districts (DBIDs) as we are encouraging people to call them, as opposed to Tourism BIDs (TBIDs) a term which is already associated more with larger Cites and specifically the funding of international convention centres, may wish to note that:

  • Disappointingly in the circumstance of ever increasing emphasis on local self-help the Torbay DBID failed at ballot on the 21 November: Torbay BID Declaration-Press Release
  • Meanwhile the Isle of Wight’s ambitious DBID consultation was launched earlier this month.  It is to be hoped that tourism and other businesses on the Isle of Wight will see the direction of travel for national tourism support and agree to take the necessary positive steps that will help towards them securing their own tourism future:

More background on DBIDs and TBIDs and links to information on functioning DBID can be found at:


Latest British Destinations meeting minutes now available

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You can now access the minutes of the joint Board and Executive meeting held on 5 October on the member’s protected page at:

The Annual General Meeting minutes together with the 2014/15 Annual Accounts are also accessible now at:


Lost or never had the member’s password,  then just email me from here.

Not in membership, then you should be: 

Coastal Communities Fund update

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The clarity on the future direction for the Coastal Communities Fund we were hoping for from the CSR announcement wasn’t forthcoming, although the good news is that I am told that the original position of at least an additional £90m to the end of the Parliament commencing from 2017, whatever that actual means in detail for whom, when and where, has not changed.   The detail is now to be agreed between Treasury and Minister and again I have been told announcement will follow “in the New Year”.  Now the headline figure has been agreed there a whole raft of discussions to be had on the Home Nations shares, the implications of devolution of all Crown Estates income raised in Scotland to Scotland from, I believe 2017, etc. etc.  Not as simple as we might have all of hoped.

Meanwhile we will recommence lobbying activity to ensure that tourism and the less easily to quantify, in terms of jobs created or sustained, tourism support and public realm work is fully recognised in the criteria for the new rounds of funding.  We are also pushing for the first of the new rounds to be conducted in the financial year prior to the award so the “winners” can be told in April of the award year and not post October or even much latter as we have seen (in England) in previous rounds.

What little was said in this week’s statement was:

Long-term investment

2.115 The government will support growth and job creation through a new wave of Enterprise Zones and extending the Coastal Communities Fund to 2020-21



Headline Tourism and CSR update

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Apologies for the delay in updating you on yesterday’s CSR results as the impact on the strategic direction of Tourism in the UK.  I have spent most of the waking hours of the last 24 hour period trying to understand the realities of the apparently good news headlines.  Each time I think I have bottomed it out some new snippet has come along and progressively depressed my initial enthusiasm for yesterday’s announcement.  Essential good news if you major on the 20%  international tourism, increasingly poor news if you major on the 80% domestic market and especially but not exclusively if you do it in England.

Things are still changing but what I think the realities looks like is this:

  • £40m clean, new Treasury money for a “Discover England Fund” spread over the next 3 years (to be matched?). However, as the day goes on it is looking increasingly likely that the bulk, if not all of it, is for international product development and marketing and in all likelihood most, if not all of it, controlled by VisitBritain(VB) and not as one might assume VisitEngland(VE).
  • The core budgets of VB and VE are not to be cut but the two are to be merged and not separated as recommended by the Triennial Review of the two bodies. Merger is increasingly looking like a misnomer as VB appears to be the dominant partner. Certainly VB’s press release today suggests this:

“….  Changes to our governance arrangements will mean that VisitEngland will report into VisitBritain and the VisitEngland board will be an advisory body”.  “VisitBritain will have over-arching responsibility for setting the strategic framework and for driving growth in international leisure and business tourism, including the development of English tourism products that appeal to overseas markets. We will maintain distinct activities to develop and market English products through a dedicated plan and with a ring-fenced budget”.

  • What role if any VE will have in domestic product development and/or marketing is currently unclear. I am hoping above hope that I am misreading the situation but I fear we may be heading to a situation which at best takes us back to the English Tourism Council days (early 2000s)  and perhaps to a position I’ve not yet witnessed where we don’t actually have a domestic tourist board as such at all for England. It’s worth remembering that the last time England’s interests were largely represented by VB some of the most vocal opponents to the arrangement were the other  home nation boards, who felt, if I recall correctly, that England’s interests where as a consequence too dominant in the marketing of Britain abroad.
  • The budget for the Greats Campaign has been increased to £60m.  VB isn’t the only partner or delivery agent and the campaign is a much wider international diplomacy piece and not by any means simply a tourism marketing vehicle.  Nonetheless, VB success within the overall campaign to date means it is well placed to benefit from the increased budget.
  • There are lots of other significant direct and indirect changes that will impact on tourism, the visitor economy and critically the support for these areas across all the regions and home nations.  They, like the apparently simple headline announcements above, will take a number of days to unpick, understand and then articulate.

More to follow as and when we find it out and understand more of it…………

Report on the economic impact of the holiday park sector in Scotland (2014)

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We have added a historic report from 2014 on the economic impact of the holiday park sector in Scotland to the  research and statistics library.  It has been added in approximate date order in among other 2014 reports.  Although the economic data is for Scotland there is some information and broad statistical indicators within it that may be relevant to holiday park sector and destination managers in other home nations:

Updates from the National Boards

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I have fallen behind with a number of updates, especially from VisitBritain:

VisitBritain’s and VisitEngland’s annual reviews can be found at paragraph 1 and paragraph 5 respectively on the following webpage:

The latest and very interesting VisitBritain foresight edition November 142 “The role of social media in the context of holiday taking”, has been published, together with the missing editions: 141 September- Football tourism scores for Britain and 138  April – Exchange rates and oil price trends are now all available at paragraph 3 of the following page:

whilst the latest Septembers issue of Inbound Tourism Trends Quarterly is now at paragraph 2 of the same page (above).

Coach Monthly British Destinations’ free feature update

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The new “5 reasons to visit: ” format for our Coach Monthly featured destination is working well with Ards and North Down, Ceredigion and Guildford being the first three to take advantage of this entirely free member benefit in its new style.  One happy colleague commented:

Thank you so much for organising the wonderful half page of coverage in Coach Monthly for 5 Reasons to Visit Guildford.  That has pretty much justified out membership fee in one go, so I’ll look on all the other benefits as being ‘free’ for the next twelve months!  Excellent!”

Diana Roberts, Tourism Marketing and Development Manager, Visit Guildford

See more or find out how your destination can take part here.

Coastal Revival Fund Update

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This is mainly for urban and rural coastal members in England.

I attended a meetings last week at which the “grossly oversubscribed” £3m DCLG Coastal Revival Fund was discussed.  Other key bits of “intelligence” gained were that:

  • The announcements for awards of up to £50k each anticipated in late October or early November will now not be made until late November, subject to Ministerial agreement.  I.e. not before then and it may conceivably be even later if Minister or other event (CSR announcements?) decree it. The principle issue driving the delay appears to be volume of applications.
  • As the money allocated has technically all to be spent  by 31 March 2016 the ability of the schemes put forward to achieve that is being considered as an additional criteria within the selection process.  That suggests anything involving major capital works is now much less likely to be approved, whereas bid that had, and clearly articulated a short timescale, are more likely to be considered.  That’s my interpretation and not a guarantee.

If you think you are still in the running you would be well advised to do some contingency planning around the practicalities of hitting the ground running in the weeks immediately running up to Christmas, or in the early day of the New Year.  It would be a shame to be selected and then miss out because of the short window of opportunity granted.

Hardly the ideal scenario even for those lucky enough to be selected. Regrettable it’s the inevitable consequence of creating a new one-off fund in a hurry.  However, never look a gift horse in the mouth;  coastal destinations in England should be eternally grateful to outgoing Minister’s for coming up with the idea and to DCLG officials for delivering on it and doing so against all the odds and Treasury inspired hurdles attached to it.

Original announcements background etc. can be accessed via:

Trinity Mirror add access to 2m readers for free…….

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NEWS FLASH! Trinity Mirror British Destination feature has been updated!

Sunday Mirror 24 January will now be included in January’s UK destination feature adding a further 2,004,000 readers to the package previously offered and all at no additional cost, so reducing the likely cost per response for each advertiser.

See the original offer detail, updated to include the Sunday Mirror here or should you be interested to learn more or take part; please contact Rosie Parson in the Travel team at Trinity Mirror Solutions: or 02072933912


Pre-CSR letter on the future of VisitEngland

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What was intended to be  a letter to the Prime Minister, copied to the Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury  and Secretary of State and Tourism Minister at DCMS has, due to timing issues, become a letter direct to the Chancellor, copied to the Prime Minister and the others.

The letter has gone out under plain cover and has been signed by a deliberately wide cross-section of tourism and Visitor Economy interests.  Although British Destinations have coordinated this campaign, other than in the covering to the email copies sent, there is no reference to our role.  Again this was done deliberately in order to gain wide support purely on the basis of the case made and not on the basis of who was, or was not, making it.

Now that the letter has gone I am happy for anyone to know what our role was in producing this and, if it help you locally, or helps the case for continued British Destination membership please feel free distribute it further  preferably making it clear that this was a British Destination’s coordinated activity.

Those of you in England may also like to consider sending the letter to your own local MP’s?

Tourism Industry Letter 6 Nov Final