Month: March 2018

Quality In Tourism Ready To Enact APPG Sharing Economy Recommendations

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British Destinations has already shared with you the interim report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on tourism recommending a level playing field for the accommodation sector.  Many of the report’s key findings will resonate with those tasked with managing destinations and rental accommodation in both the hospitality and private rental sectors including:

  1. As a principle, all businesses offering accommodation in the visitor economy, whether existing ones or new ones enabled by the sharing economy and its platforms, should compete on a level playing field
  2. There is an urgent need to independently clarify and codify the adequacy of the various ‘checklists’ or other security assurances being offered by sharing economy platforms
  3. The implications of local enforcement agencies not having adequate resources to carry out adequate safety inspections of sharing economy businesses due to severe budgetary restrictions must be grasped – not least by Government

Quality In Tourism has been accrediting accommodation for over a decade and their new “Safe, Clean and Legal” scheme helps addresses all of the key concerns raised by the APPG inquiry as well as tackling those issues commonly experienced by traditional accommodation businesses.  Although a secondary aim, the approach also helps to maintain and improve quality.  The scheme costs from £100 (+vat) per year and offers providers, destination managers and consumers the assurance that the property on offer is compliant with a host of regulations much of it linked to personal safety.

For more information contact QiT on 0845 300 6996 or email


First conference outputs now available

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Those who attended this week’s joint British Destinations, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society Tourism Society Tourism Week Conference will have heard the headline detail of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tourism’s inquiry into the sharing economy presented by our President Gordon Marsden MP, the APPG Chair and Shadow Minister for Education.  The text of the interim report which will be followed in due course by a full report is now available. (see below)

As indicated by the content of Gordon’s presentation, the interim report appears to have firmly nailed the main issues and problems created by the rapid development of the sharing economy and sharing platforms in the tourism accommodation sector.  It identifies the commercial business usage of sharing platform to potentially circumvent necessary regulation, rather than genuine small-scale, occasional sharing of surplus assets to create modest additional revenue, as the critical issue.  It also highlights the challenge of measuring and thus proving the scale of the issues, the current lack of transparency and, thus, the problem of the responsible authorities identifying who is trading, when and where within the sharing economy. The committee were also concerned that those authorities might not have adequate resource to properly check and regulate, if they were able to easily identify who was trading.  The report also suggests that a light touch statutory registration for all (commercial?) accommodating providers may be at the heart of a possible solution.  This is to be investigated further before the publication of the final report in early summer.  We could now choose to sit back and see what happens or look to see where we might jointly assist in finding workable solutions to the challenges identified.

We have also received the first copy of the presentations given.  John Foster of the CBI gave an enlightening and easily understood briefing on potential BREXIT impacts and the current position regarding high level negotiations.  I certainly found that it cut through the complexity and seemingly ever-changing situation to give a clearer view of where we are now, where BREXIT might take us and some of the key consequences of the different routes and end states that lie before us.

Both the interim APPG report and CBI presentation are worth reading in full.  They can be found in the draft conference report 2018 page here.

Conference partners:

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Tourism Week Joint Conference 19 March 2018

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Whilst awaiting the photographs I need to create a full report on the first joint British Destinations, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society, Tourism Week Conference and Parliamentary reception which followed it, I thought I couldn’t delay any longer to expressing my sincere thanks to our conference partners Global Tourism Solutions (UK) and Quality in Tourism.

Without their support we wouldn’t have been able to gather over 140 senior representatives from the industry or indeed attracted such a high-profile group of speakers to address some of the key issues for tourism, including some of the more controversial topics like tourism levies and the potential need for appropriate controls  on the sharing economy.  It is clear to me that both robust estimates of local tourism’s value and volume and trend data and modern flexible independent quality assurance are even more important than ever, as we all wrestle with the management of an increasingly complex set of business models.

A more detail report on the event will follow. Meanwhile the conference programme and delegate list can be accessed here: ETW DELEGATE PACK 2018 – FINAL

Conference partners:

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New senior tourism post offered at c £50k -£57k closing 13 April 2018

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A new senior tourism post is being offered at Thanet District Council (Isle of Thanet, Margate, Ramsgate  and Broadstairs).  See more detail via the British Job Vacancies + menu tab or go direct to the page at: 

Last chance to book

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The joint British Destinations, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society Tourism Week Conference being held at the RAF Club Piccadilly, 19th March (10 am -3 pm) to be followed by a Parliamentary Reception (4 pm – 6 pm) is now nearly fully booked.  If you wish to attend and have yet to book then we will make every effort to accommodate you, provided you act soon.

The conference flyer can be accessed here . For ease of reference the speakers are:

Chairman: Deirdre Wells OBE, MTS

Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Tourism Minister

Gordon Marsden MP, Chair of the Tourism APPG

Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson CBE, Chair of the LGA, Culture, Tourism & Sport Board

Denis Wormwell, Chairman, VisitEngland

John Foster, Campaigns Director CBI

Anthony Pickles, Head of Tourism Affairs, VisitBritain


Chairman Bernard Donoghue FTS, CEO ALVA

Tim Aldersdale, CEO Airlines UK

Stephen Moss CBE, Chairman, Springboard

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UK Hospitality

Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director, People 1st


NAO reports on the sustainability of Local Government funding in England

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The National Audit Office report ” Financial Stability of Local Authorities 2018″ published yesterday highlights the pressure on Local Authorities in England following a 49.1% real term reduction in government funding for local authorities between 2010/11 and 2017/18 and, in particular, the additional pressures on those authorities with social care responsibilities.  It is also mildly critical of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s  approach to local Government funding and it makes recommendations on possible improvement to cross Government approaches, monitoring and policy development.

The key facts on page 4 are well worth noting, the summary pages 5 to 13 are worth at least scanning and, if nothing else, pages 30/31 and page 41 of the main report should be read as they contain tables with direct relevance to tourism support.  These tables indicate a reduced by c 50% (48.1% or £83 m between 2010/11 and 2016/17) in local authority expenditure on “tourism”, £67 m arts and heritage development and so on.

Those who fully understand the nature of the wider local authority roles and engagement within tourism and the visitor economy will of course appreciate that many of the other service areas covered in figure 10 on pages 30 and 31,  from culture and heritage, through economic development, to licensing and street cleaning also impact directly on the quality of place and the quality of product and, thus, on the ability of popular destinations to continue to function successfully within a highly competitive domestic and international tourism and leisure markets. Sadly, all of these other areas have also seen significant reduction in the funding available to support the necessary service provision.

The report can be found in our research and statistic library at:

Tourism levies in Wales

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Colleagues from the Welsh Treasury have provided an extremely useful update on the Welsh Government’s current position on 4 potential new taxes, including their position on possible, future development of a tourism levy/tax in Wales.  For future reference the detail has been added to the Tourism Levies, related articles menu tab.  For ease of reference now the text of the note received reads:

7 March 2018

Dear Peter

I’m writing from Welsh Treasury in the Welsh Government.  I’m writing with interest in your recent article related to the recent announcement by the Liverpool City Region proposing the introduction of a tourism levy on a trial basis.

We thought you might be interested in recent activities in Wales on new taxes.  In July 2017 the Cabinet Secretary for Finance led a debate on new tax powers in Wales, where Welsh citizens were invited to comment on new taxes.  Following the debate, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance announced four tax ideas that the Welsh Government would develop further – a vacant land tax, a social care levy, a disposable plastics tax and a tourism tax.

The reason for exploring a potential tourism tax for Wales is to help find ways of investing in tourism – to raise revenue to support and improve the tourism offer in Wales. The UK context is continually developing, as more cities in the UK are actively considering introducing a tourism tax, with many international cities having also successfully introduced different forms of a tourism tax. We are, however, aware of the issues around the potential impact of such a tax on the tourism industry in Wales and have been listening to and will continue to hear the views of stakeholders on such matters.

While the vacant land tax proposal has been prioritised to test the Wales Act powers, work will continue, at varying levels, on the remaining three tax ideas.  For the tourism tax specifically – the Welsh Government will explore ways in which local authorities could be given permissive powers to develop and implement a local tourism tax.  There are significant policy issues which require further exploration and consideration before any local permissive powers could be introduced, including, but not limited to, the overall level of taxation on the tourism sector – in particular VAT. This will consequently be a longer term, deliberative piece of work to be carried out over the coming years, and in collaboration with local government, the industry and other interested parties.

I attach the associated press articles and a link to our new taxes webpages for your information.  I noticed that you have you have a link to articles on various recent tourism tax/levy proposals and thought this may be of interest and possibly a suitable addition.

Please do let me know if you have any questions or would like any more information.

VisitBritain Foresight issue 157 to 161 now available.

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I have recently sourced and added the five latest editions of VisitBritain’s Foresight reports to the protected members’ section of . I have had to play catch up, in part due to the fact that these excellent reports are not always specifically promoted by VB in their newsletters, in part because there is no longer a specific Foresight library page within site you can easily dip into to find a reports you have missed and finally the search facility on doesn’t readily recognise Foresight or the issue numbering as a search parameter, to find them you need to know what the report is called or what it is about.

Hopefully my efforts to find, promote and store all the reports centrally aren’t wasted and it may even prove to be of some assistance to you.  Published in late November 2017 and February of this year are reports on:

Foresight issue 161 February 2018 US East vs West Coast Consumer Research.

Foresight issue 160 February 2018  Film and TV locations as a driver of tourism.

Foresight issue 159 February 2018  Understanding welcome.

Foresight issue 158 November 2017 How the world views Britain – 2017.

foresight issue 157 November 2017  Regional spread of inbound tourism.

Back issues 156 to 120 of October 2013 are available to members at para 3 of: :

Lost your access to the members’ protected pages?  Email me:

Out of Africa

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Hopefully the majority of members will have been blissfully unaware that I have again taken a period of unpaid leave in order to help balance the organisation’s books during January and February.  During much of this time I have been on Army Reserve service in Northern Kenya and in between shifts in my African office and during any time off between exercises I have also been doing the day job, as evidenced here:


In between doing two jobs I also made time to do some piece work in the local craft industry.  Unfortunately my rate of bead threading didn’t meet the approval of the new boss, as evidenced here:

Kenya 2018

And for any one concerned it wasn’t all work sometime there was nothing else to do but take in the view and there was a lot of view to take in…

IMG_00001042 (002)

I hope that you have not noticed any major reduction in the service provided, during my time away. I am now well and truly back and back in train and hoping to see as good few members at our forthcoming  joint British Destination, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society, Tourism Week Conference in London on 19th March:

New research paper added to the research library.

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Today the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a technical report entitled: Spending needs tax revenue capacity and the business rate retention scheme. The report assesses the likely impacts of Westminster Government’s move towards 100% retention of business rates in England.  The findings questions some of the core policy assumptions underpinning the case for 100% retention.  It also identifies the critical importance of mechanisms like safety nets and examines the particular issues for traditional two-tier shire arrangements.

Although not specifically a tourism report, the relationship between destination based tourism and the availability of local public funding and the associated quality of local services and especially of the quality of place should not be ignored. Additionally, 100% business rate retention has recently been muted as a potential tool to support tourism within designated areas,

The executive summary page 5 to 7 contains sufficient information for the majority of destination managers; the full report will be of interest to those working in finance and those responsible for strategic direction within Councils.  It may be worth drawing colleagues working in these areas attention to the report: