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.

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