Month: June 2017

Summer Marketing Campaign update from Visit Wales

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The latest phase of the Visit Wales Year of Legends activity is now underway with an EPIC summer campaign targeting London and the South East of England.

As ever some excellent, principally domestic, marketing activity from Visit Wales.  See more on this and the North Wales London promotion in the industry news update at:


Sector Deal – draft Connectivity paper

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Further to my recent updates on the Tourism Industry UK Sector Deal bid, I have now received the draft Connectivity paper which can be accessed below.  I am gratified to find that a good number of the initial concerns around lack of reference to domestic tourism, destination management’s roles, tourism as a redistributor of wealth etc. that I raised at the group meeting have now been reflected in the new draft, albeit necessarily briefly.

We do need to be mindful that the work of the four separate groups will now be combined to produce a single bid document based, in all likelihood, around a small number of selected major asks.  Some of these useful references made in the connectivity paper on matters close to our hearts are likely to become slightly obscured in the bid’s background papers, or even lost entirely.  However, nothing ventured, nothing gained and there will be opportunities to highlight issues again during the ongoing drafting process.

If you have any comments or suggested amendments or additions please let me know before the end of this week (this and other groups are working to very tight deadlines).

Tourism Sector Deal – Connectivity Draft v1 26.06

Further update on the development of a UK tourism Sector Deal

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If you have had time to scan the  minutes of our 16 May Board meeting or picked up on the detail elsewhere, you will know that efforts are continuing to produce a UK tourism industry Sector Deal application, with the aim of submitting an agreed industry bid document to the UK Government in late summer.  Initial work under the auspices of VB as secretariat began prior to the general election using a  4 main strands approach as the working methodology:  Industry of the Future, Industry of Choice, Regulation and Connectivity.

A week ago today I attended the first connectivity working group meeting. I am hopeful that my participation will have helped ensure that the connectivity strand will now be more balanced between the needs of inbound, out bound international and domestic tourism than might otherwise have been the case had I not got involved with my destination and domestic agenda in mind.  However, I can’t be certain until I see the next draft of the working paper on connectivity (expected this week) which, if possible, I will share with British Destinations members for your comment, advise and opinion.

Meanwhile the regulation working group has also met and produced its first draft proposal.  Rather than presenting a long list of deregulation requests, many of which will have been put forward before and failed to gain traction, the group has now gone down the route of producing a single, “big idea” which if accepted will have the greatest beneficial effect on the greatest number of sectors and therefore on the largest number of individual tourism businesses.  From a destination management prospective at it also has the distinct advantage of setting out to improve the formulation and application of necessary regulation and not simply to push for deregulate for deregulation’s sake.

The big idea is to adapt the scope of the existing principals of, Primary Authority and adopt it so that in future a, “central tourism body” can act to ensure simplicity and consistency of regulation and its application across large parts of the tourism industry.  My reading is that it could also help to ensure sensible application of any new regulation and help drive required changes in existing or create new beneficial regulation directed towards tourism businesses.

It sounds like a jolly good idea but I am not familiar enough with the existing application of the Primary Authority approach in tourism, limited I understand largely to brewing, pubs and caravan parks (?) or with the experience in a multitude of other sectors from cheese making to petrochemicals, to be certain or to venture a really well informed opinion as yet as to whether British Destinations should or should not support the approach.

I also note that the deal is supposed to have UK application and that Primary Authority has limited application between Home Nations.  I am also very mindful that the regulation group has set the paper against the backdrop of the sensible challenge that if anyone has got a better suggestion than this then do please offer it;  or in other words: “put up, of shut up”.  The group’s first draft proposal can be accessed at:  Tourism Industry Deal – Regulation Initiative (outline)

I would welcome any comment and advice members can offer on the regulator group’s proposal.

Industry Strategy – Sector Deal Update

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Despite some continuing uncertainty about the likely direction of the UK Government’s Industry Strategy which was started prior to the General Election, work is continuing towards producing a UK tourism Sector Deal bid on the off chance the Sector Deal approach and the original timetable for bid submissions (September) remains extant.  For background information on Sector Deals and the perceived importance of being engaged with it as a sector, see item 4.11. of our Board minutes:

To this end I am attending a meeting tomorrow, 16th June, on the “connectivity” strand of the 4 strand approach to developing a tourism sector deal bid.  The first draft working proposals in this strand are understandably heavily weighted towards international tourism, for example, issues like: VISA’s, airport capacity and Air Passenger duty are heavily featured and are all things that most destinations would be supportive of.  There is rather less emphasis on connectivity and distribution for international tourists once inside the UK and, as yet, very little reference, if any, to connectivity and domestic tourism.  You will not be surprised to hear therefore that it’s the in-country and domestic dimensions that I will be attempting to champion on your behalf tomorrow and in subsequent meetings and consultations for this and the other three strands.  Once there is something more substantive for you to comment on directly I will of course circulate it.

In the meantime if there are any issues want raised that you are not sure if I will have picked up on already, then please let know ASAP.

16 May Board Meeting Minutes and 2016 IPS figures published

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I’ve been waiting until after the election to publish the Minutes of the 16 May Board meeting.  Some of the content has been overtaken by recent events but the majority remains extant.  They are rather full, but have been written this way, as much if not more, to inform those that were not presence about the issues debated and critically where we now intending to take them,  as they are a record for the benefit of those who attended.

For those interested in statistics I have also added the full 2016 year International Passenger Survey (IPS) report published this week to our VB page (first item para 2):

These are both on protected pages.  Email me if you have lost the password:

Report on the benefits of low rates of VAT on tourism added to or research library

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I have just added an interesting report to our research and statistics library which was received, courtesy of the Tourism Alliance, from Hoptrec the European umbrella body for European hospitality associations.  The report examines the benefits of lower rates of VAT on tourism and hospitality related services, something that many within the tourism industry have, and are still lobbying hard for here in the UK.

A comparative table of 2017 EU VAT rates at page 10, the table on contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in EU states on page 11 and the summary of the 5 key benefits of low VAT rates for tourism services on page 20 may be of most immediate use, to those who don’t have time to read the full report in detail.

Personally I found the relatively new (?) argument about lower rates “levelling the playing field with the ‘collaborative’ economy” most pertinent, particularly in light of our Board’s recent decision to proactively challenge at national level some of the many untended consequences of the sharing economy for other tourism businesses and for destination management:

Job Vacancy Marketing and Communications Manager Shakespeare’s England Stratford-upon-Avon c £28k closing 9 June 2017

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Shakespeare’s England is the official destination management organisation (DMO) representing Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and surrounding areas.  A public-private partnership with over 130 private members from  local tourism businesses, and the backing of Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Councils, as well as Warwickshire County Council, they are seeking to expand and recruit a new Marketing and Communication Manager.

More detail can be found on the British Destinations website under the drop down menu jobs vacancy tab or go direct to the page at: