Month: March 2017

Of interest………

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1.  An interesting article in  TravelGBI  from Victor Middleton, a great friend of domestic and destination based tourism  and an Honorary Fellow of Association.  Victor’s  piece returns to a theme that we have been supporting for a number of years, namely that we are all in the business of supporting the visitor economy, something that is far bigger and even less well defined and understood than “the tourism industry”:

2. Perhaps too early and probably too far divorced from the practicalities and realities here in the UK to be of immediate concern but it is interesting to note that yesterday apparently the Turkish courts took action against for anti-competitive practices.  I have yet to confirm the validity of article(s) but if it’s true it adds to the weight of evidence that established OTAs and their more recently established competing sharing economy platforms are increasingly coming under scrutiny and control from national government and local/state/regional/city authorities:

3. I conversation with Kurt Janson of the Tourism Alliance I have been told that the Tourism and Leisure All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry on the Sharing Economy which took written evidence last Autumn will be taking oral evidence as soon as appropriate dates can be confirmed  More to follow, meanwhile you can access the background detail via:

More historic articles and background detail on the sharing economy from can be accessed at:


I’m back but then again hopefully you didn’t notice I was away…….

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Hopeful the majority of you will be blissfully unaware that in order to help balance the Association’s books I have been voluntarily on unpaid leave for a number of weeks (as I was in closing months of 2015/16).  As an Army Reserve officer I have been able to fill the personal gap by joining a number of major regular army exercises both here in the UK and abroad.  Whilst away by the miracle of the world-wide web and WiFi I have been able maintain a near normal service for the Association; even producing a number of advanced invoices at short notice for members from a tent somewhere in Northern Kenya.  Thank you all, whether aware of it or not, for your forbearance.

Two points to note: on return from Kenya I’ve done the first draft of the end of year accounts based on actual income and spend and I am confident that have almost certainly achieved break even as intended.  Meanwhile I have been able to confirm that various lobbying paper, response and comments submitted from afar have lodged with their various intended targets, so from both an internal and external prospective my notional absence has had minimal impact on our organisation’s effectiveness.

The “holiday” pictures below have a wider purpose beyond their,” look at me value”.  Whilst in Kenya I visited a number of charitable projects supported by the British Army.  One the Samana Transitional Home for Street Kids Nanyuki is in desperate need of small-scale routine funding support and/or major project support to help it relocate to improve and grow its services to deprived and abandoned children.  Has anyone got contact with any overseas educational, welfare type charitable interests or any links with any commercial organisations that might see some corporate social responsibility linkage with street kids in Norther Kenya, essentially encouraged to abandon education, to beg from passing tourist in order to feed themselves and often their younger siblings?  If so please let me know.

Tourism Alliance Video

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Youtube version of the Tourism Alliance video released last week.  This version may have more local utility:

Updates from the Tourism Alliance Board Meeting

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Yesterday among a series of meetings I attended the Tourism Alliance Board meeting and later their Annual Parliamentary reception.

Of interest from these two events are the Kurt Janson’s notes reproduced below which are taken from the Tier Group Meeting held last Thursday, immediately after last week’s criminal attack on Westminster Bridge and on the entrance to Parliament.  These are:

For those of you who haven’t heard of the TIER Group, it is the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group co-ordinated by VisitBritain and is convened when events occur that have significant implications for the UK tourism industry. The group links into COBRA via DCMS. As such, a meeting was held to today to discuss the impact of yesterday’s attack.

The main points from the meeting are:

  • All indications are that this was a one-off event, although the situation is still fluid.
  • While there were some precautionary closures of tourism attractions in London yesterday, these attractions have now reopened
  • There has been considerable media activity in overseas markets but so far this coverage is sympathetic in nature with little negativity and little of this activity is related to tourism.
  • The FCO reports that there have been no change in the travel advice issued Government of any overseas market related to travel to the UK
  • VB has suspended its marketing and social media activities in overseas markets until events, and their impact on overseas markets becomes clearer. The aspiration is to  reactivate activity as soon as possible  and this will be done on a market by market basis after an assessment of the impact becomes clearer
  • VB is has developed both pro-active and reactive media responses and these will be used when signed -off by Govt.
  • The main Government line is that London and the UK is still open and welcoming visitors
  • Reports from the industry are that the impact so far has been minimal with inbound operators and airlines reporting few cancellations. Sentiment from the US and the Middle East remains positive, while there is some sensitivity being noted in certain segments of European markets such as school trips.
  • It is considered that, if it is just a one-off event, then there will be little lasting impact in overseas markets

Asks from Government

There are two asks from Government

  1. The Government is developing a list on largescale public events where people are convening over the next week so if your industry is staging such an event, could you please let me know
  2. The Government would like any information you may have on particular impacts to your sector in order to develop a more detailed understanding of the situation. Again, if your members have experienced any impacts, could you let me know.


  • The main messages are that tourism industry is operating as normal and that London and the UK continues are open and welcome visitors
  • In your contact with the media, don’t be tempted into quantify the impact of the attack on the tourism industry as this is counter-productive.

VisitBritain plan to send out market-by-market reports of media and consumer reaction as well as their media response These will be available from the VB website.

At the reception the Alliance launched its new paper on the industry’s post Brexit asks from Government.  This paper will also form the the basis for the Tourism Alliances submission to Government on the UK’s future post Brexit Industrial Strategy:

2017 Tourism Alliance Post Brexit Policy Agenda

The Alliance also launched their latest statistical video using a new style of content.  This will be available for download for a number of days at:

The minutes of the January Board meeting can now also be accessed via our corporate website at: Tourism Alliance Minutes – 30th Jan 17 Board Meeting .

VisitEngland Quality Schemes tender winner announced

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Message from Andrew Stokes received 3 March 2017

Good afternoon,

I wanted to give you an update on the VisitEngland Quality Schemes.

As you will know, in November we published a tender for companies interested in bidding to take on the licence for the VisitEngland Quality schemes and I wanted to inform you formally on the outcome of this tender.

The VisitEngland accommodation assessment schemes have been successfully run under licence since 2012. The existing licence ends in March 2017 and this gave us the opportunity to review how we operate and grow the schemes.

Following a rigorous tender and evaluation process, VisitEngland has appointed the AA as licence-holder to run all our National Quality Assessment Schemes, subject to contract.

The AA has been inspecting and rating hotels and guest accommodation in the UK for over 100 years and follows the same common standards used by VisitEngland and the national tourist boards for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The strength of the AA bid lay in not only their commitment to maintaining standards and meeting the expectations of Quality Assessment Schemes’ participants, but also in matching our ambitions to develop the schemes further and bring additional value to participants and consumers.

Quality in Tourism continue to operate the schemes until the new licence comes into effect which we anticipate will be on 1 April 2017.

As we develop the contract, our priority is to work with the AA to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. More details, including the time frame for renewals and assessments, will be available this spring.

If, in the meantime, you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Andrew Stokes

England Director


Destination Intelligence Survey data publish

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British Destinations annual destination intelligence survey 2016/17 data has now been published on our separate Destination Intelligence website.  All members’ data has been updated, including that for members that were unable to provide full figures themselves (by using all available national open source data sets).

The site has a separate password protection to the main corporate site. However, using your corporate website password you can access the link and the password detail from this page: or failing that email me.

Any administrative issue should be raised with me and any technical or data issue with Sergi Jarques:  of Destination Research Ltd.

On behalf of British Destination I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the support given by both Destination Research Ltd and Global Tourism Solutions (UK) to their clients in completing individual survey returns and to British Destinations as a whole, through their unstinting supporting for this annual destination intelligence gathering initiative.

Please note that the passwords for this and our other sites will be changed post April to reflect the 2017/18 financial year membership and therefore access to this data will only be available to those who have or who are renewing membership.