Month: March 2016

Latest Spring UK Budget and Brexit tourism assessments now available

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Two useful reports via the Tourism Alliance and our Tourism Alliance partner organisations:

1. The Tourism Alliance’s assessment of what the recent UK Spring Budget’s means for tourism can be accessed at:

2. In the absence of any other well considered independent assessment of the tourism impacts of the forthcoming EU referendum I would recommend that you read the excellent ABTA commissioned Deloitte report “What Brexit might mean for UK travel”.

It’s a factual think piece designed to help promote necessary debate around a myriad of complex interrelated and sometime contradictory, competing issue and not a biased piece intended to unduly influence any one in any particular direction:


UK Coastal Communities Fund Update

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Following announcements made in the UK Parliament’s recent Spring Budget Statement regarding the promised 4 new rounds  of the UK wide Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) 2017/18 to 20120/21 Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have issued a statement and a UK wide annual report for 2015 (2014/15 funded) activities.  Both should be of interest to  UK coastal destinations  and they, together with British Destination’s commentary, can be accessed via:

Tourism Changes – a personal view

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I have recently received a copy of an article written by Ken Robinson CBE which is to be published in the Tourism Society Journal.  Ken has a very interesting views on recent developments which, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, deserve to be properly aired. To that end I would urge you read Ken’s article which can be accessed at:

New question posted on the member’s forum

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Can you help colleagues trying to source information on the economic value of restaurant development?  See the latest question posted under the “Forum: ask questions get answers” menu tab or go direct to the webpage at:

2015 Destination Intelligence reports published

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We have just published the 2015 Destination Intelligence survey reports for all member destinations. These reports are held on the separate Destination Intelligence website: and the pages containing the reports themselves are protected.

The password for the Destination Intelligence site can be found on the following protected page, using the main corporate website’s password:

or failing that member’s representatives can always obtained passwords by emailing me here.

Look in Destination Intelligence site’s main and drop down menu under the “latest 2015 (2014/15 data) descriptions and reports” tab to access: the  all group, group and individual destination’s reports. Alternatively access the headline page directly at:

Note, errors and omissions can be corrected and any additional information can still be added to individual reports where it is missing.  Please contact  Sergi Jarques to discuss the reports and/or to arrange for any necessary amendments to be made.

VB and VE update and the Discover England Fund

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Last week I attended the last of a series of six VisitBritain (VB) and VisitEngland (VE) roadshows on the Discover England Fund.   It was a good session which briefly touched on the future role and work of VB for the UK and, now within VB, VE’s separate work for English tourism. The event then rightly majored on the emerging and still being refined plans for the £40m Discover England Fund and its phased delivery over the next three financial years.  This fund clearly offers huge opportunities to make step change improvements to international tourism within England, with an emphasis on driving additional international visits outside, or as a supplementary part of a visit to London.

If you didn’t attend the briefing then I urges you, regardless of home nation, to look at the presentation slides (2 to 13 contain the key detail):

Discover England Fund Presentation Feb – Mar 2016

(short text only version for email usage: Discover England Fund Presentation (short version)).

I would also urge those of you in England to start give some thought to the “quick wins and research” in 2016/17 and also to start thinking about what benefits you might derive from involvement within much wider partnerships in one of the up to half dozen major projects that will be sought later in 2016/17 for delivery in 2017/18 to 2018/19.

Meanwhile if you think British Destinations can help act as an honest broker between destinations seeking others to partner with in 2016/17 or you have thought on useful sectoral, thematic or other group, international market research projects that we could legitimately front for the memberships benefit, or if there is anything else we might do to add value, then please let me know immediately.

Personally I still remain as, if not more, interested in difficult issues of what VE within VB will be willing, able or allowed to do by their joint paymaster DCMS, for domestic tourism in the coming years, something that wasn’t really aired to any degree at last week’s event.  I have every faith in VB’s proven ability to deliver a major series of internationally focused Discover England Fund initiatives.  I’m just not yet convinced that DCMS as a department thinks there is a case for active strategic or tactical support to the English domestic market, or critically that Treasury will allow DCMS to fund a range of domestic focused activities in fully or in part from the VB/VE core budget and/or any programme funding.  If it’s not allowed (politically supported) and/or funded then it not going to happen, however much we and VB/VE might want it to.

If I am correct then surely it’s entirely right and proper to support and encourage VB and VE in delivering what they are being allowed to deliver, whilst at the same time still criticising Government’s for its seemingly flawed thinking and lobbying it and others in support of those things that we jointly believe are essential for the health and welling of UK tourism but that are not currently being adequately provided for?

As ever I would welcome comment from the membership to help me develop my understanding on and approach to these wider issues, as well as to the specifics of the Discover England Fund initiative.

Tourism Alliance UK Tourism Statistic 2016 published

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The Tourism Alliances’ excellent UK Tourism Statistics summary document which was published yesterday can now be accessed at:

New tourism funding for Heritage and Community Rail

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Department for Transport have announced a £1m competition fund for Heritage and Community Railways and tourism innovation closing on 4 April. Find more from the drop down menu under the New Funds tab on or go direct to the webpage at:

New retail report and other news

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A new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) looks at the future of retail and the UK’s high streets.  Although not a “tourism report” as such it’s finding reinforce our existing concerns about the future role of retail in the high street and the high street’s role in destination based tourism. By default it prompts some very difficult questions about the function of retail and it roles in place making and the visitor economy.

Of greatest concern is the  that the report acknowledges that there are likely to be considerable regional/national variation and  that those place that are already economically fragile are most likely to see the greatest impact of store closures and associated difficulties. See the full report at:

Also in the news:  Travelodge have put its sale on hold after announcing record profits from increased sales to business travellers, but equally having also failed to attract a significantly large bid from any capital investors in the sales process started last summer. As one of UK’s largest budget operators, with hotel in all principal, most major and many smaller destinations, both the company’s fortunes and its business model’s impact on other accommodation providers are ones to be closely watched:

Despite improvement across the international groups performance Merlin Entertainment acknowledges that it has been a difficult year following last year’s the Alton Towers accident.  Last week’s news that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted also serves to keep this deeply regrettable incident firmly in the public eye, with all the attendant consequences for Merlin, for the Alton Towers and, sadly by association, for much of the rest of theme park and attractions industry: