Month: November 2016

Sharing Economy consultation response

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for tourism and Leisure are looking at the sharing economy within tourism. APPGs are not Parliamentary committees as such and their deliberations are therefore not as influential as those of an official Departmental Select Committee, nonetheless a well targeted and properly conducted APPG, “inquiry” can still have significant influence. Comments from tourism industry and other interested parties were sought by the Tourism Alliance who administer the APPG by 25 November.

British Destinations’ comment submitted on behalf of the membership can be accessed from the link below.  Any additions, amendments or corrections you might have can still be made provided they are with us by midday Thursday 1st December (for submission by me before 17:00 that day):


Autumn Statement – Key Tourism Issues

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Courtesy of Kurt Janson and the Tourism Alliance we have received a short summary paper on the immediate, key point for tourism from today’s Autumn Statement.  See the covering note and summary at:


VisitEngland Action Plan 2016

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At yesterday’s English Destinations Forum there was a good deal of comment, especially during the round table discussions concerning the requirement for an England strategy.  As far as I am aware this already exists in the form of the England Action plan 2016 published in May.  On reflection it may not have received the level of attention within England that it deserves?  See the second item on the following page of national strategies and plans: 

The old proposed VE tourism strategy for England 2015

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In preparation for the forthcoming England Destination Forum (EDF) on 21st November attendees were asked to contribute information on how they were organised, what they did with whom and how and what they wanted out of the forum in future.

Inevitable some of conversations around this preparation have turned to what VE used to do and what VB/VE now do and/or might do in the future.  It may not be relevant or appropriate for the meeting on 21st but when I mentioned to colleagues that I had the draft of the old proposed VE tourism strategy from 2015 I was I was asked to circulate it; principally in order to clarify what was that VE actually used to do and what they were actually proposing to do, rather than to rely on increasingly cloudy memories.

It makes not a jot of difference to current VB/VE – DCMS direction but hopefully it may add some useful context and help allow us all to make more progress with the current plans:

New research paper added to the British research and statistics library

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The latest research from the National Coastal Tourism Academy on off-peak tourism potential at coastal destinations has been added to our research and statistics library and can be accessed directly at:

Home sharing/ sharing economy update

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We’ve added a new page to containing a couple of important, recently sourced articles on home sharing/sharing economy and the possible wider impacts within tourism.  These are presented alongside links to a dozen previously publish background articles together with a link to the request for written evidence from the Tourism Alliance who are administering the All Part Parliamentary Group for Leisure and Tourism’s “inquiry” on the  sharing economy (closes for written evidence on 25th November).

If you’re not submitting evidence, the content should still be of use to anyone contemplating the issues locally, now or in the future:

In the News: term-time holidays taking, the sharing economy questioned and the rural tourism inquiry

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1. Term-time holidays. New research published last week in the Time Education Supplement questions the Department for Education (DfE) repeated claim that each day missed from school can harm pupils’ attainment. Since September 2013, heads have been allowed to authorise term-time absences only in “exceptional circumstances”, which do not usually include holidays. The new research may add to the argument for some form of relaxation of what is currently almost a blanket ban?

1.1. In the last 18 months a number of parents have successfully challenged fines for holiday absence, which has helped raise awareness of the issue and arguably create greater uncertainty among both education authorities and parents.  This may have contributed to an over 50% rise in fines for absence for all reasons in England which was reported in July 2016?

1.2. Our position remains that absence for affordability, holiday preference or simply convenience is not justifiable.  However, where parental working conditions, or other similar circumstance, outside their control preclude a long family holiday being taken during school holidays, we would argue that this should become a recognised exceptional circumstance.  This would allow requests for absence to be made and then to be judged on merit against the strength of any evidence presented to substantiate the case made.

1.3. The fact that many small tourism business owners and many employed in the tourism industry find themselves unable to take family holidays in what is the peak school holiday periods, surely adds weight to the need for such a case to be made by the tourism industry and hopefully accepted by Government.

2. Sharing Economy. The sharing economy and, in particular, AirBnB as a leading brand are coming under increasing scrutiny as what was intended to be a sharing platform for those with occasional availability of their personal living accommodation, increasingly becomes used as a 24/7/365, full-time, multiple property holiday letting platform. London in common with other major international destination Cities is the latest to officially raise concern about the impact on private sector rental sector and affordable housing stocks among a raft of other second and subsequent order consequences. What at first sight might have appeared to be a good thing for tourism in general is now starting to be questioned at all sorts of levels, including by the highly regulated serviced accommodation sector, who see AirBnB and their ilk providing a vehicle for unfair competition.

2.1. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Tourism and Leisure (which is administered by the Tourism Alliance) is holding an “inquiry” into the sharing economy and has called for evidence (note APPG do not have the official status of Select Committees and Government don’t have to react or respond to an APPG  report, nonetheless its a useful issue raising mechanism):

2.3. A number of member destinations have started to raise concerns with us over what is in some area is an apparent explosion in often unrecognised and unregulated accommodation provision, some of which may be uninsured, illegal and/or unsafe.  As destination management organisation they are also starting to pick up on many of the wider associated issue, for example, the impact on affordable key worker accommodation and so on.  It is this type of information, preferably evidenced, that needs to be presented to the APPG, either directly, or through the British Destinations’ response.

3. Rural tourism. The Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee is now taking oral evidence from a number of organisations including British Destinations and the Tourism Alliance over the coming weeks. Our evidence session planned for 8th November has been postponed until later in the month. This gives rural members and other with rural interests more time to comment on our submission and/or raise additional points with us for possible inclusion during the oral evidence session:

British Destinations called to give oral evidence to rural tourism Select Committee Inquiry

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Having submitted written evidence in early September we have now been called to give oral evidence on rural tourism to the (D)EFR Select Committee on Tuesday 8 November.

Although a Westminster departmental inquiry, and therefore targeted at England, there will be some overlap and some potential utility for rural tourism interests elsewhere in the UK.

Our written evidence and that of the Tourism Alliance who have also been called on the 8th can be accessed from the page below.  If you have any comment, correction on the written evidence or additional information that you would like me to try and air with the committee on the day then please let me know: