Recent All Part Parliamentary Group (APPG) and UK Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry updates

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1. EFRA Select Committee Inquiry into rural tourism. There is a strong desire among many tourism and rural interests to see the inquiry in to rural tourism, which was all but completed but which didn’t formally report due to the General Election, resurrected in the new Parliament under the new Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee.  A brief summary letter was sent to the former Secretary of State prior to the Parliamentary disillusionment, but this will have carried minimum weight with the old out going Government and have little if any with the new.

1.1 The re-election as committee chair of Neil Parish MP, on 12 July, may now go a long way towards helping achieve publication. We will raise our desire with both the chair and the committee clerks over the summer recess and encourage individual destinations and our strategic national partner organisations to consider doing the same. Whether publication can be achieved simply by brushing off the old committees report, a refresh of the old report and/or parts of the inquiry, or an entirely new inquiry is a matter for the new committee members and the Parliamentary experts in select committee procedure to untangle.  What matters is getting rural tourism issued aired in  Parliament and within DEFRA during the period of preparation for Brexit.

2. The Tourism and Leisure APPG which took written evidence on the sharing economy and tourism in late 2016 has yet to sit due in large part to the announcement of the General Election. The Chairman of the APPG (our President Gordon Marsden MP) and the Tourism Alliance as secretariat have resolved to start holding evidence sessions as soon after the summer recess as is practically possible. For interest sake our written submission can be found at: https://britishdestinations.net/consultation-responses/open-consultations/appg-sharing-economy-inquiry-closes-25-nov-16/

3. The Visitor Economy APPG which is serviced by BHA (British Hospitality Association) took written evidence last year on coastal tourism. Again our submission can be found at: https://britishdestinations.net/599-2/content/appg-on-visitor-economy-coastal-inquiry-submission/. Following a request from me for an update on the progress of the inquiry, if any, BHA have kindly responded with a helpful summary:

There were three oral evidence sessions for the coastal communities’ inquiry during the last Parliament. MPs heard evidence from, among others, the head of visitor economy at Blackpool Council, industry leaders and the coastal communities lead at the New Economic Foundation. 

Due to the recent General Election, the APPG’s inquiry was put on hold while Parliament was dissolved. The APPG has now been reformed in the new parliament with Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, as Chair.

The following were elected as Vice Chairs:

  • Albert Owen, Labour MP for Ynys Môn,
  • Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP MP for Central Ayrshire,
  • Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion,
  • Jim Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford,
  • Scott Mann, Conservative MP for North Cornwall

The APPG has invited the new Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry MP, to provide evidence at a session in October.  The group will then publish a report with the APPG’s recommendations for improving coastal areas, based on the evidence received.  We will keep you updated with our progress.

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