Month: September 2016

Business Rate Revaluation England & Wales

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Just in case anyone gets caught unawares, the UK Government’s Valuation Office Agency has published a number of new guidance documents yesterday 28th September and the new individual valuations for businesses in England and Wales are due to be published online from tomorrow  30 September 2016 and local businesses can find out what their new valuations are.  The valuation is of course not necessarily the same as the business rate to be  paid from 2017 which is calculated using a multiply (not yet announced?) and taking into account any reliefs etc.  Nonetheless business rates are likely to be a topic of conversation in most destination in England and Wales from tomorrow onward:


BBC piece on Brexit and tourism

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An interesting piece from the BBC on Brexit benefits to tourism which closes with some balancing comment from the Tourism Alliance about some aspects of the potential downside:

Local Solutions. Boosting the Visitor Economy

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Commissioned by the Local Government Association’s Culture Media & Sports Board this report/policy paper looks at recent and proposed devolution deals in England and the opportunities that devolution presents to boost the visitor economy.  In doing so it highlights the importance of: tourism and the visitor economy to the UK, the critical function of destinations and destination management in supporting  local businesses, the important but financially threatened role of local government in underpinning their own local destinations and their management and marketing and then discusses how devolution and the powers and  funding associated with it may now help boost the visitor economy in those Cities, town, County and other areas that agree a devolution deal (as at September 2016, 6 agreed and 34 proposal being considered).  See the report at:

UK Hotels Forecast 2017

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Thanks to the Tourism Alliance for alerting me to the availability of latest PwC report Facing the future – A question of balance  their UK hotel forecast for 2017.  Although based largely around hotel chains and focused more towards major Cities the report contains a good deal of relevant trend analysis for all destinations and also includes interesting commentary on the potential impact on serviced accommodation of the sharing economy.  Key data is at page 4, page 5 to 7 contain the main summary detail whilst the rest of the report is worth scanning if not reading in full:

Correction – VB/VE England Destination Management Forum

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Yesterday I sent out a message via blog and email regarding the English Destination Management Forum.  In it I referred to the original VE DMO list and to the revised VB/VE list.  I was looking at the post and I have just realized that I inadvertently attached the old randomly presented original version and not the new re ordered VB version as intended; sincere apologies.

Can you please look at the new version below and report any errors or omissions for your own destination and any potential omission for your own sub region/peer group.  If you have already sent me corrections I will verify the detail against the new list for you:


I have amended the original blog and the website so it now carries both lists.

VB/VE England Destination Management Forum

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An update on the Forum and an important ask of each of the destinations in England in membership.

Those of you at the first of the VisitEngland Destinations Management Forum meetings since VB took over the mantel for England will know that there was some debate about whether to set the new Forum up as an entirely independent body not under VB/VE’s administration and therefore more easily able to lobby.

After some discussion with other existing representative bodies and VB/VE it looks increasingly likely that it has been agreed to maintain an expanded forum under the auspices of VB/VE with the forum itself setting c 50% of the agenda for each meeting.   Any associated lobbying that may or may not fall out of those meeting, or occur as a consequence outside of it, will wherever possible be channeled via the existing Tourism Alliance route, specifically using the coincidental board membership of ourselves, Core Cities, TMI and a few others as the avenue of approach.  This should strengthen the destination voice, not further divide it.

There is still some debate over who should chair the Forum, I and several others have indicated that a VB/VE chair is preferable.  VB/VE seem to think destinations might want one of their own.  A nice idea but probably fraught?  I have also suggested that if neither option is workable then why not appoint someone from the industry who isn’t from a destination background and who could simply facilitate the meetings?  Whatever the outcome it is hardly a deal breaker.

Meanwhile VB have taken the original published VE list of “DMO” in England which was entirely randomly presented and sorted it in to English regions and placed DMO’s in alphabetical order in each region by whatever title they had for them.  The new lists confirms my original belief that there are a number of minor errors (i.e. Scarborough in the North East not Yorkshire, Redcar the other way round? Out of date organisation titles etc.), possible duplication (i.e. VisitSouthport and Sefton MBC)  and far more worrying lots of potential omissions, including a number of urban and rural British Destination members.  I could simply decide who is or isn’t missing but ultimately its your decision whether you want to be officially recognized as an English DMO.  Being on the list, recognized and invited doesn’t mean you then have to attend the forum meetings.

Please study the list accessible below and let me have any corrections for your own entries.  Since I think that making sure that the forum is truly representative from the outset is in everyone best interests, please also consider letting me have any omissions you might notice from your sub region or peer group.  I will then  contact them (good PR for BD) and consolidate the lot and pass it to colleagues in VE who are as keen as we are to get this right:

Revised list: destination-management-organisations-in-england

(Old original  list: destination_organisations_in_england )



Trinity Mirror Membership and Features

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After a significant number of years in membership of British Destinations, providing bespoke features for British Destinations members, Trinity Mirror Solutions have withdrawn from membership for 2016/17.  Consequently there will be no further specific British Destinations features offered, nor will we necessarily be highlighting other ad hoc tourism related promotional opportunities from them.

The parting, whilst regrettably,  has been entirely amicable, reflecting as it does a combination of the changing nature of destination promotion, reduced individual commercial activities and  the reduced joint purchasing power of the membership combined. In recognition of their long standing and loyal support to the organisation and to its individual member destinations I would urge you to continue to work with Trinity Mirror Solutions when and wherever their offering meets your needs.   In that spirit I am sharing their comment (albeit later then intended) from July:

“Whilst we will not be running a British Destinations associated feature, we will be looking into new opportunities to continue support for our local/ regional tourist spots”.

“The offering has not yet been designed but we would like to continue working with local tourist boards, to help promote destinations to our audience be it through, our national or regional reach, or through print or digital platforms, that we have to offer as a Newsbrand”.

Should you have any interest in the future talking to Trinity Mirror Solutions, please do not hesitate to contact their Group Head of Travel Selina Shanker on the details below:

Select Committee Inquiry Rural Tourism

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The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee are holding an inquiry into rural tourism in England. The terms of the inquiry and copies of our written evidence and that submitted by the Tourism Alliance can be seen at:

The Committee will now consider all the written evidence submitted by the 6 September deadline and then call for further verbal evidence on selected matters from the written evidence and from Government, its agencies and others in response.  At some point a report on the Committee’s findings with recommendations will then be published.

Westminster Government through Defra as the committee’s sponsor department is then duty bound to reply within 60 days but not necessarily duty bound to act upon any or all of the recommendations made.  Nonetheless, Select Committees can be influential; informing both the Government of the day’s view’s and in helping shaping opposition party opinion and future thoughts on whatever issues have been taken to the committee in evidence and/or on which they have then subsequently chosen to report.

TMI Annual Convention Early Bird Deadline and Member Guest Offer

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TMI Annual Convention Early Bird Deadline and Member Guest Offer

Early Bird rates for this year’s TMI Annual Convention start at just £97.50 plus VAT for 12 October and £122.50 for the study tours and networking supper on 11 October and the full day on 12 October.  Hurry though – the deadline for these rates is 5 pm on 14th September. Book here

TMI have also extended their member bringing non-member offer to guest(s) from outside the member’s organisation. Just book all your party at the same time on the same booking and we will invoice you at the member plus member guest rate. So please spread the word and invite colleagues from your local industry, town centre teams, BIDs, attractions and anyone else in your destination management networks to join us in Bournemouth next month for the latest insights into all things destination management.

Wessex water Beach Survey

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Message from Wessex Water, re local plans but also for general information as it may have implications elsewhere?

Dear Stakeholder,

You were contacted by my colleague Andy Mears in February 2015 to inform you of Wessex Water’s intention to complete winter surveys at a number of beaches along the Somerset and North Somerset coast. We are now writing to share with you the results of the beach surveys that were completed between October 2015 and April 2016.

The aim of the beach surveys were to assess the costs and benefits associated with considering seasonal (rather than the current all year round) ultraviolet treatment at several sewage works. This data has been collated and the results are summarised in the report which can be accessed using this link:

Wessex Water Winter Beach Survey Report 2015/2016

Following the initial consultation with stakeholders, we decided not to include Clevedon beach as part of the winter surveys due to evidence of all year round use. However, we have been unable to find evidence at the remaining beaches of any organised water based events outside the bathing season. If you are able to provide evidence of any such events, please forward this information for inclusion in the report.

You will see from the recommendations that we are proposing to make a request to the Environment Agency to amend the current permits to allow ultraviolet treatment outside the bathing season to be switched off (but maintain a requirement for the equipment to be switched on prior to planned events where bathing water quality matters).

If accepted, the change would save approximately 862 MWh/yr of electrical energy (the equivalent of 428 tonnes/yr of CO2 emissions). Those who benefit from this significant amount of energy use are few. We have reached the conclusion that an individual using the sea outside of the bathing water season at the beaches surveyed incurs the use of a similar amount of energy in one hour as an average person would do over a whole year in a domestic residence.

We recognise that our recommendations may not appear favourable from your viewpoint, but hope that the facts presented enable you to consider the costs to the environment as well as the benefits to users of the current arrangements.

We welcome your comments and observations on this report and request that these are submitted for consideration before Friday 16th September. If you would like to respond with comments but are not able to do so before this date, please let me know.

Kind regards,


Philippa Bond

Waste Water Strategy Advisor


 Operations Centre, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7WW

Mobile: 07920 191293

Direct Tel: 01225 526230