Month: February 2018

Liverpool Tourism Levy Proposals Announced

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Liverpool City Region are proposing the introduction of a tourism levy, a proposal which like other before it presents a further opportunity to try and break the mould when it comes to funding destination management and support for the tourism, leisure and cultural industries.

The city could be a “test bed for the rest of the country”, Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram said as the findings of a report is launched that recommends that the City Region should seek to pilot a hotel bed tax to support culture and tourism; a move that will of course require active Government support and quite possibly Primary Legislation if it is to go ahead.

The Liverpool proposal are the latest in an increasingly long list of City, City Region based tourism tax/ tourism levy proposals.  Like those that have gone before it, it has been quickly condemned by BHA (British Hospitality Association) or UKHospitality as it has been known since the completion last week of its amalgamation with ALMR (Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers).

Based in Southport, part of the Liverpool City Region I have been aware of the report and its emerging recommendations but have been unable to share news of this development sooner, due in part to the obvious sensitive nature of anything to do with “tax” or additional charges. Although UKHospitality have immediately fallen back on the established national BHA stance which might be summarised as “never on our watch”, it is interesting to note that the Liverpool report has had to gained a significant degree of local hospitality industry support in order to progress, as indeed we believe have many of other proposed schemes in recent years.

I am speculating but perhaps this illustrates the divergence between the maintenance of core principles at a national level and the more pragmatic local position?  That local position seems to me to be that in current financial and organisational circumstances, perhaps radical change is now justified to ensure that destination management, development and marketing can continue at the level required to ensure success in, what is after all, a highly competitive domestic, let alone global tourism, leisure and cultural market.

I do also personally ponder whether the interests of some of the larger accommodation chains, who are arguably far less dependent on individual destination management and marketing efforts for the success of their business model, may have helped drive the BHA’s position?  It will be interesting to see whether UKHospitality will be prepared in time to reconsider their inherited stance in the light of growing local support for proposed new ways of funding local destination based activities.

I have had some minor concerns about whether pilot proposals based almost exclusively on City or City Regions will be readily adaptable to the equally pressing (some might reasonable argue greater) needs all other destinations types? In part the answer is that without someone leading the way no one else will ever get the opportunity to follow.  Moreover, if you are to trial the approach, then Liverpool City Region’s varied offer that includes within it: traditional seaside resorts, smaller towns and rural and rural coastal areas as well as major City is about as good a diverse test bed as you are going to get within a City anywhere else in the UK.  What we perhaps now need is a wider industry movement that says to the Westminster Government we don’t really care where but we do want you to test local levies and we do want them tested sooner rather than later.

Notes on British Destinations position on tourism levies can be accessed here  and related articles on various recent tourism tax/levy proposal including  Liverpool City Regions’ can be found here.


Coastal Communities Fund Reopens for Bids

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The Coastal Communities  fund in Wales reopened for bids earlier this year, deadline for expression of interest is 12 March (apologies for missing the original notification). More detail here.  The Big Lottery Fund continue to administer the programme in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Meanwhile in England the  new 2019 -20121 £40 m  round opened  today for expressions of interest by 30 April.  More detail here.  You should note that DCLG have taken administration of the fund in England back in-house.

Details of the funding arrangements for the next round in Scotland and Northern Ireland are still being sought.

More reasons to attend annual conference

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Preparation for the joint British Destinations, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society Tourism Week conference on 19 March 2018 at the RAF Club Piccadilly London from 10 am to 3 pm followed by the Annual Tourism Industry Parliamentary Reception 4 pm to 6 pm are progressing well.  In addition to the detail given in the Conference Flyer we are delighted to give you three additional reasons to attend this high profile national strategic level tourism event:

1. Tourism APPG Sharing Economy Inquiry.  In recent week the Tourism Alliance has been holding the Oral Evidence sessions for the Tourism All Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry, The Sharing Economy: Maximising Benefits while Reducing Adverse Outcomes. APPG members, led by Gordon Marsden MP, have been hearing oral evidence, in addition the previous written evidence, from representatives from both the traditional accommodation providers and sharing economy companies regarding the impacts that this sector is having on the tourism industry, the policies that need to be put in place to enable sustainable growth and how to provide a level playing field between the different tourism businesses types.

While the APPG’s final report is not due for a couple of months, Gordon Marsden MP (our President) will be using the ETW Conference to launch an interim report on the key issues and recommendations that have come from the written and oral evidence collected so far.  This will provide delegates with further opportunities to raise associated issues and concerns including: thoughts on the need for greater legislative controls, the role and function of voluntary codes of practice and differentiation mechanism and the increasingly pressing need for greater understanding of the scale,  value and volume of the sharing accommodation sector at National, regional and local levels.

2. Labour is developing a Tourism Policy. Kevin Brennan MP, the Shadow Tourism Minister, is in the process of developing Labour’s new Tourism Policy. To help with this the Tourism Alliance is organizing three meetings for him with tourism businesses in Scarborough, Manchester and Exeter. Kevin will be using the conference on 19 March to talk to the industry about the development of Labour’s plans for tourism and how you can feed into this process.

3. ALMR and BHA Merger.  At a special meeting last week, members of both organisations voted to merge ALMR (Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers) and BHA (British Hospitality Association) to form UK Hospitality, which will combine the resources of both organisations to become a key player in the tourism landscape. Kate Nicholls, the newly appointed CEO of UK Hospitality (former CEO of ALMR) will be part of a panel at the conference where she will be discussing the major issues facing the hospitality sector including employment and skills, and how the Tourism Deal can help resolve these challenges.

Over 80 of the maximum delegate capacity of 150 places have already been booked for the event and so far in excess of 30 MPs have already responded positively to the invitation to attend the Parliamentary reception.  In order to assist us with the administration, if you have not yet booked to attend the conference and you wish to do so, then please consider booking sooner rather than later.  Those who have booked will receive a formal invitation to attend the Parliamentary Reception by separate cover.  Please note an RSVP to that invitation is required for Parliamentary security reasons.

Our conference partners:

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Late notice job vacancy Research Post Newcastle Gateshead Initiative £30k-£34.5k closing 22 Feb18.

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The Newcastle Gateshead Initiative are seeking a research manager, although the closing date is 22 Feb 18 late applications may be considered. See more detail under the Jobs vacancies + menu tab at or go direct to the page on our corporate website at:

CMS report on the potential impact of Brexit on the Creative industries, tourism and the digital single market published

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The Westminster Cultural Media and Sport select committee report on the potential impacts of Brexit on creative industries, tourism and the digital single market was published in late January 2018.  On this occasion we contributed comment from a destination prospective to the Tourism Alliance response submitted on behalf of the Alliance’s major trade body membership, rather than present evidence ourselves.    A copy of the report plus the Tourism Alliance’s narrative comment on its tourism content can be accessed at:

Conference speakers confirmed

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British Destinations, the Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society are delighted to announce the final line up of speakers at their forthcoming joint Tourism Week Conference on 19th March 2018 at the RAF Club Piccadilly London (10 am – 3 pm) to be followed by a Parliamentary reception (4 pm – 6 pm).  Further detail of the speaker, the conference and links to the Tourism Society booking site can be found on the  Conference Flyer .

British Destination members are asked to consider distributing the detail, internally, to local strategic partners and (who can attend as members) and to colleagues in neighbouring destinations.