Month: May 2016

New free destination intelligence service

Posted on

Gain greater insight into your destinations tourism performance.  The new FREE to British Destination members, downloadable Destination Intelligence Dashboard makes understanding and reporting on your destination even easier. Find out more here.

Critical information Coastal Communities Fund

Posted on Updated on

At a Tourism Alliance policy briefing session yesterday the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) team briefed us on the new round 4 Coastal Communities Fund across the UK, but with particular reference to England.

The immediate issue.  During the briefing it was said that although 4 year’s worth of additional funding had been agreed (2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21)  DCLG, in England at least, they were planning to roll the 4 years into just two bidding rounds with the potential, depending on progress made, for a smaller third round as a moping up exercise, presumably in 2020/21 (?).

Separate announcements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are still due to be made sometime in June and no comment on whether the same approach would be adopted in any or all of the other home nations was made or (apologies) due to time constraints, were sought.

The DCLG plan might be known to everyone else in the coastal sector but it certainly came as news to me and news with potentially major planning and preparatory implications attached.  I, as others might also be assuming, thought there would be 4 annual application opportunities in England between now and the end of the 4 year programme. The biannual approach now means that anyone missing the 30 June 2016 English application deadline for round 4 can’t now apply again for the fifth and potentially last major round until 2018/19 for funds that, if granted, will only be made available over the 2019/20 -2020/21 financial years. I think that is a fairly significant but and if known, an entirely manageable planning factor that coastal destinations in England and potentially elsewhere, need to be alerted to.

Details of the round 4 application process in England are currently available on the Big Lottery website, where news of and the material for bids in other home nations will also be posted in due course:

Future considerations. It is not unreasonable to suggest that coastal communities as a whole should be grateful that their particular funding needs have been recognized and that they have access to a separate funding mechanism that others have not.  Having  first gain and now retained CCF, there is still job of work to be done to argue for continued investment beyond 2020/21.  That may not be an immediate priority for individual destinations but, for those directly involved in the strategic lobbying efforts around CCF it is worth noting now that we were also told that the percentage, albeit of a steadily increasing Crown Estates marine revenue, had been cut from the previous figure of 50% to 33%.

That is a major change which brings in to question some of the assumptions we have made around just how much money is being made available to each home nation over the next four years.  The Chancellor’s headline announcement was for at least £90m over the period but for whom and therefore how much in total or each wasn’t and still isn’t entirely clear. It perhaps begs further searching questions of colleagues in DCLG and the other devolved administrations and it may also give us some food for thought on possible lobbying angles beyond simply fighting to retaining what had been a rapidly growing annual funding mechanism.  These are thing we can start to discuss during Annual Conference in June ( and at future meetings thereafter.

None of this is intended to be critical of the UK and devolved Governments or DCLG as the coordinating department; all of whom have done sterling work, often again the odds, in securing and delivering the fund. All I am trying to do is make sure those who need to understand the changing  practical circumstance understand the detail before the event and not after it.


Wanting to improve Coach and Group travel?

Posted on

Stuart Render former editor of coach tourism trade magazine Coach Monthly, former chairman of the judging panel of the National Coach Tourism Awards, past Board member of the Coach Tourism Council and an old friend of British Destinations and many of its member destinations, is now offering bespoke consultancy services.  If you or individual local businesses are wish to increase or better manage coach and group travel activities then we recommend that you consider Stuart’s services:

Visit Manchester’s speaker confirmed

Posted on

We have all heard of Visit Manchester and most of know instinctively that it is one of the biggest and most successful “DMO” in the UK but how many of us really know what it does for whom or how it operates?  What are the model’s major strengths and any weaknesses and critically what transferable lessons are there for other City and non-City destinations of similar or much smaller size elsewhere in the UK?

We are delighted that Nick Brooks-Sykes Director of Tourism – Marketing Manchester has confirmed that he will be Marketing Manchester speaker on the afternoon of 20 June at the Ramada Plaza hotel Southport.  For more on the conference sessions PM Monday 20th – AM Tuesday 21 June, or to book please visit: 


Coastal Communities Fund round 4 launched in England

Posted on Updated on

Following last week’s webinar  round 4 of the Coastal Communities fund was officially launched in England today . Bid of between £50k and £4m can be made.

The DCLG press release outlining the programme can be accessed at: .  whilst further detail regarding the criteria and application process can be obtained from the Big Lottery Fund who are administering the fund at:

Background on all other home nations Coastal Communities Fund  programmes, which have yet to be launched are available via the Big Lottery link above.


More conference speaker detail confirmed

Posted on

We are delighted to confirm that Kurt Janson the Director of the Tourism Alliance will be presenting the Alliance’s session at British Destinations’ annual conference in Southport 19/20-21 June 2016.  Kurt’s presentation, now programmed to take place 14:50 – 15:35 during the opening Monday afternoon sessions (13:45- 17:15) on 20th June of this two day event, will cover key tactical and strategic industry lobbying activities and review the current geopolitical environment in which UK domestic and international tourism operates.

Kurt’s session follows presentations from our hosts Sefton Council/ Visit Southport. These sessions led by Mark Catherall Service Manager Tourism will look at the manner and means of destination management in the principle resort of Southport and the linked rural and urban areas of the wider borough, with an emphasis on the commercialization of the delivery of key tourism services and events; or put more simply: how to keep effective destination management functioning in an environment of public sector austerity.

For more detail or to book visit:  

Coastal Communities Fund update

Posted on

The baseline presentation and recordings of yesterday’s two fully subscribed pre-round 4 application webinar for England can now be accessed from the main CCF website at: . For ease the reverent references from that site are reproduced below.

The webinar date for Scotland is 24 June and for  Wales and Northern Ireland they have yet to be Published.

Extract form CCF websites reads:

You can download the Round 4 England webinar presentation here. There are recordings of two sessions which can be downloaded below:

11:00 am webinar – Download session oneGoes to different websiteOpens in new window

2:00pm webinar – Download session twoGoes to different websiteOpens in new window

New vacancies Arts Development Officers (x 2) Lytham St Annes

Posted on Updated on

For details of two different, new part-time Arts Development Officers post at Fylde Council salary at salary grade c£20k-£22k, closing 1 June 2016, either go the drop-down menu off the main “Job Vacancies +” tab on, or go to direct to the relevant page at:

If you’re not personally interested, please consider passing details to any contacts you may have in the arts and arts development and events fields.

Blasts from the past.

Posted on

The following passage which was recently brought to my attention has been added to our existing blast from the past section:

The extra paragraphs read:

The following passages in J.A.R. Pillott’s “The Englishman’s Holiday.” Published in 1947 by Faber and Faber; reproduced 30 years later by Harvester Press in 1976 seem to be as remarkably perceptive now a further 40 years on, as it probably was when written in 1946/7, presumably based on evidence drawn mostly before the enforced break of the 1939-45 war. (Modern interpretations added in brackets).

“The chief holiday trades (tourism industries) are highly individualistic; in a place like Brighton there are thousands of separate (business) units.  But ultimately their survival is bound to an exceptional degree with the maintenance and development of natural and other assets (public realm) over which they have no direct control…….Hence the holiday resorts (inland and coastal destinations) were pioneers in municipal enterprise and from the earliest days found it necessary to assume responsibility for essential undertakings which private enterprise would or could not finance.”  page 243

“Each side in this curious partnership (private and public sector) is essential to the other but only the public authority can effectively co-ordinate the many strands which compose it….The role of the municipality has  steadily enlarged…. Experience has shown how easily decline can set in where it (the municipality) is careless or neglectful.” page 245.

There are a number of useful reminders here for those considering the need for destination management (of which marketing is only one, albeit important part) and whether there is a need for strong local public sector engagement, in whatever one of many modern formats that destination management now may take.


In this week’s news

Posted on

1. Term-Time Holiday Taking. Today the High Court ruled in favour of a father who refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday.

1.1. Jon Platt’s “victory” will be welcome news for those concerned about what has been called the “Gove Effect”; the apparent reduction in family holiday taking in some popular UK destination areas, which followed the effective removal of head teacher’s discretion on in term holiday taking within England and Wales. In Wales the Welsh Government subsequently issued guidance (January 2016?) making it clear that a blanket ban was not the intent. In any case its where the pupil and families holiday, not where they are educated that drives any tourism impact, making England’s policies and England’s significantly larger school aged population a potential issue for all the home nations.

1.2. As ever there are a complex, sometimes contradictory set of issues in play.  Mr Platt’s argument seems to be more about accepting a fine and thus by default accepting that taking a child out of school is a criminal act, which he refutes. The media seem to favour the populist view that it’s all about the relative cost of holidaying in and out of school term-time and/or the more extreme view that the tourism industry is “ripping off customer in high season” or the law of supply and demand as some would prefer to call it.

1.3. The Westminster Government and the Education Department seem to believe it is all about avoiding damage to children’s educational prospects by removing them unnecessarily from school. Meanwhile many in the industry feel it should be much more about recognizing that modern family circumstances are increasingly complicated, increasingly families are facing differing term times for siblings in adjacent schools, one or more working parents may face having their own holiday date restrictions to contend with and of course there is the internal tourism industry issue of owner and staff high season holiday restrictions for those working in the industry itself.

1.4. For the time being at least today’s finding makes Local Council’s in England’s position on when and how to fine whom in what circumstance far less certain.  What it doesn’t do however is close the issue because the Isle of Wight Council can still appeal and/or Government in England could now either clarify or change the direction or the relevant legislation in order to achieve their objective which appears to remain to reduce in term absence for anything other than exceptional circumstances.

1.5. What it potentially does do is give another platform to argue the case again (if you agree with it) for a return to genuine discretion based on the merits of the individual case. I tend to think cases that have merit are likely to involve a number of circumstances that combined would preclude a family taking a significant family holiday at any other time in any given calendar year; cost of course might be included as a consideration but should seldom if ever be the defining circumstance, but that’s just my view.

2. More funds allocated by DCLG.  Department for Communities and Local Government have announced the 15 recipients in England of an additional £700k funding made available under the previous £3m Coastal Revival Fund, awards for which were announced in December 2015:

2.2. The tone and the focus on the value of tourism in this DCLG release is in itself notable. Hopefully this bodes well for the emphasis placed on tourism and the visitor economy that will be placed on the next round of the Coastal Communities Fund, more  detail of which are being released next week in England in early June in Scotland and at dates to confirmed in late May in Wales and Northern Ireland:

3. UK Bathing Season. The UK bathing season starts on Sunday 15 May; it wouldn’t be unusual for this event to be marked by some popular press coverage and sadly often with a more negative twist to it than the vast majority of the bathing water results deserve.

4. Discover England Fund and other Nation Board’s activities.   Although already announced by us earlier in the week it would be remiss not to mention the VisitBritain and VisitEngland launch of the first round criteria for the Discover England Fund:

4.1. It would also be remiss not to mention Visit Wales and the recently launched year of adventure campaign including the frankly stunning TV campaign and other supporting materials aimed principally at their major market, the UK:

4.3. And finally next week VisitBritain and VisitEngland will launch their Holidays at Home campaign, a UK domestic campaign promoting UK wide domestic product: