Month: March 2019

Last orders for Tourism Joint Conference

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Final bookings for next week’s joint tourism week conference close today.  If you have not booked yet to attend the event 0930 for 10.00 on Monday 1 April at the RAF Club, Piccadilly London, followed by the Tourism Industry Annual Parliamentary Reception at the Houses of Parliament 4.00 – 6.00 pm  and you still wish to attend please book now.  Final figures need to be with the venues tomorrow.

The conference programme and booking link can be found here.

Our conference partners:

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Tourism in the National Newspapers:

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1. Entertainment Licence fees increase. Following last year’s public consultation which garnered strong objections from national trade bodies PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), the copy right holder for over 100k artists, have announced a new, largely higher, fee structure for Special Featured Entertainment (SFE) Tariffs, commencing on 1 July 2019. From that date new licences for SFE (essentially events that use recorded music) will attract the new fees while existing licensees will see these imposed, on renewal.

The fee multiplier will increase annually until 2023 representing a c 130% increase over the 5-year period. The current average multiplier rate is c 3.8p per 25 people, per hour and the new rate for 2019 4p rising to 9p by 2023. (the consultation originally proposed an upper rate of 22p!).  British Beer and Pub Association, UK Hospitality and others are of the view that the increased fees will result in fewer events being held and in associated business closures. You should also note that in a move to rationalise copyright payments, PPL have since February 2018 been collecting Performing Rights Society (PRS) payments in a single payment for each area of common activity (PPL broadly represent artist and PRS the creators and publishers of the material performed).

Destination managers will wish to be aware of this additional pressure on local businesses and of ongoing efforts to lobby PPL for a change of heart (however, unlikely that now is).  Whether your local businesses will be fully aware themselves of the impending changes will vary depending on local circumstances and the level of their trade association engagement.  PPL’s explanation of the new charges can be accessed at: SFE TARIFF PPLPP301 – Nightclubs, Pubs / Bars, Restaurants / Cafés, and Hotels the consultation  and other detail here and some typical example of the recent trade press and national media coverage here and here

2. Unauthorised term time holiday taking. The number of fines for unauthorised school absence in England increased by 75% in 2017/18 to approaching 261k of which 223k were attributed to unauthorised in-term family holidays. The steep increase is accredited, in large part, to English local authorities returning to a stricter application of the rules governing absence, following the 2017 Supreme Court finding in favour of the Isle of Wight Council (the Platt case).  Since 2013 head teacher in England can only grant leave of absence in “exceptional circumstances”.  There are no fines applied in Scotland and Northern Ireland for such absences. After the imposition of the same ruling in Wales, Head Teachers there were subsequently given the flexibility to granted up to 10 days in term time for family holidays where they feel the circumstance justifies it.

Popular press coverage of this story continues as it has done throughout to include accusations of profiteering by the tourism industry through unjustifiably hiking up prices during school holiday periods.  There are some very complex dynamics in play, that go way beyond the question of simple supply and demand within the UK, or probably more importantly for holiday products outside it. We are not simply competing for limited capacity in relatively common holiday periods with the rest of the UK but with most of Northern Europe and much of the rest of the world beyond.

Our position remains that removing children from school for purely financial reasons and/or to access a particular choice of holiday type or location is seldom if ever be justified. However, we also recognise that in the modern flexible, working environment there are now many other reasons why taking a family holiday, of any kind, might not be practical within what is in reality a very narrow window of c 12 school holiday weeks.  In particular, we recognise that many owner operators and the vast majority of employee working within the tourism and visitor economy have very limited opportunities to take family holidays in the school holiday periods.  Ensuring that their right to a have family holiday is preserved is our principal concern, not least because maintaining that right impacts on employee retention and our ability to build and demonstrate a sustainable career path with tourism. If you get the opportunity please promote the case for greater flexibility and the need to support tourism industry workers and others, who by the nature of their employment, have no real choice but to holiday in term time or forego a family holiday:

3. Coastal funding announced. On the 23 March MHCLG announced the latest awards for Coastal Communities Fund and Coastal Revival Fund in England, that combined amounts to £36m for 70 projects to be delivered between 2019 -2021/22, including many which were directly or indirectly tourism related: MHCLG press release.  These good news stories have been widely picked up by the local and regional media.

Our aim regarding CCF nationally remains to retain this very welcome, targeted funding stream well beyond the current 2021/22 round and wherever possible to encourage the creation of funding mechanisms of a similar targeted nature for other key tourism sectors and types of rural and urban tourism areas.  In our experience tourism does not do particularly well against other industries when fishing for funding in much larger more generalist economic development pools. The post Brexit direction of travel appears to be more towards big national schemes and a distinct danger that CCF and its currently unique approach will get lumped into some bigger pot or pots.

And finally:

4. CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire resigns. Late last week Welcome to Yorkshire announced that Sir Gary Verity its high-profile CEO had resigned on health grounds. The resignation has since generated a good deal of local, regional and latterly national attention, not all of it necessarily helpful for this popular  national tourist destination: and

A warm welcome  back to Isle of Wight

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British Destinations members will be delighted to hear that after a short absence Isle of Wight are the latest destination member to re-join the organisation.   The Island is not only one of the UK’s principal tourist destination but  it is also the home of a ground breaking, whole destination based destination business improvement district.  British Destinations looks forward to working with colleagues at Visit Isle of Wight to promote our mutual interest in a thriving visitor economy and also to learning  and share lessons, including those from their management of the ongoing DBID.

Book now for Joint National Tourism Conference 1 April 2019 before it is too late.

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Booking are still be taken for the joint British Destinations, Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society one day conference followed by the Tourism Industry Parliamentary Reception on 1 April.  The event runs from 09.30 for  a 10 am start to 3 pm at the RAF Club, followed by the reception at the House of Commons from 4 to 6 pm. The final programme can be accessed here:

ETW Conference Programme (Final)

More details and booking link can be found at:

The event is limited to 150 delegates, speakers and guests, so book now to avoid disappointment .

Our conference partners:

                                                                                  QT Logo CMYK (002)                                    


Important consultation update

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1. BEIS are conducting a review of Consumer Contract Regulation 2013 which seeks evidence by 1 May 2019.

Although the review itself will not result directly in any change to the existing regulation it will inform a forthcoming Consumer White Paper and it is obvious from the consultation’s text that BEIS already have a particular interest in the impact and potential need to amend exemptions that currently cover a range of key “tourism” goods and services.

The current impacts of the exemptions and the consequences of any change are complex; so much so that as yet I really don’t have an opinion as to which way destination-based interests should lean on these issues.  More than ever, I really do need your expert assistance in formulating a balanced view on what is in the best interests of well established UK destinations.  More detail at:

2. The BEIS review of the Package Travel Regulation’s 6 months in has now closed.  Members concerns around overzealous transcription in to UK law and concerns around lack of awareness and the likely impact that might have on a well-informed and successful review and amendment process  have been lodged by both British Destinations and by the Tourism Alliance in their response:

3. Both of these consultations reference the CMA ‘s (Competition and Marketing Authority) investigations and subsequent action against a number of the major international OTA (online travel agents).  If you have missed the detail it can be found in under the “sharing economy main menu tab, or go direct to the page of related sharing economy and OTA articles at (see 2nd article in the current list):

As its coming up to membership renewal time for many members can I take this opportunity to remind you that we undertake activities like these and many other beside (research library, Destination BIDs, future funding, Tourism levy issues etc.) so that you and your hard pressed colleagues don’t have to, or when you need something it can easily found.  We are all far stronger and far more effective working together.  Moreover, as a member of British Destinations you can legitimately say to your own members and local partners that you are taking effective and coordinated action on their behalf to represent them and to influencing  key decisions and events nationally.  I

f you need more evidence of the value of working together with other destinations  then call or email me.



Two briefing notes from the Tourism Alliance

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The Tourism Alliance has kindly provided two documents which I am sharing with you as our members.

The first is a brief overview of the key  points for tourism arising from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement made this afternoon; a summary that negates the immediate need for you or I to have to trawl through the full statement to find out what is most pertinent to our national and your local partners.

Of most strategic interest I thought is the confirmation of the CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review) timetable to be complete by Autumn (tight in the circumstances?) and the announcement of a review of the tax status of global tech companies.  It will be interesting to see if the promised review will be wide enough to embraces the global, online travel agents and sharing accommodation platforms that now proliferate in our industry and not simply focus on the handful of truly global giants of online commerce and social media:

2019 Spring Statement – Key Points for Tourism

The second document is the notes from yesterday’s VisitBritain Tier Group meeting (Tourism Industry Emergency Reaction Group) which met to discuss the impacts of Brexit.  Not unsurprisingly the main feature of discussion was on the international market.  The few comments recorder relating to the domestic market were generally positive.  A useful note, potentially worth sharing with local partners?  Further bi monthly meeting are planned.

Based on previous experience I have to admit to being nervous about the seemingly natural tendency to assume that anything that serves to depress out bound tourism is bound to be good for the domestic market and everyone reliant on it.  If only domestic tourism and the drivers of the visitor economy were that simple:

2019 VisitBritain Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group 12 Mar


Revised timing for Annual Conference

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Regrettably, due to a change to Ministerial diaries, it has been necessary to bring forward the start timing of our joint national conference on 1 April 19 from a 10 for 10.30 am start to a 9.30 for 10 am start.  The event will still continue until 3 pm as originally planned, allowing ample time for delegates to move to the Houses of Parliament for the Industry Parliamentary Reception, 4 to 6 pm, to which they are all invited.

Any inconvenience caused to those who have already booked and made travel arrangements is regretted.  For those who have yet to book please note places are limited by the venue’s capacity to 150.  Please book soon to avoid disappointment.

The amended programme and booking detail can be accessed at:


Our conference partners:

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Research for the NTB’s + jobs vacancies added to

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1.  VB’s Foresight  edition 166  published in Feb 19, “Competitor Destinations – previous holiday destinations” (2017) has been added to the VB section of our protected members area: .

An interesting report based on a survey in 2017 on other destinations visited by international visitors to the UK. Probably a tad too high level/nationally based to be of direct use to most individual destinations but I could be wrong? Forgotten the password to access the protected pages, then just email me.

2. I have also  added two research documents to the research and statistics library:

  • GB Tourism Statistics 2017.  Overlooked last year and only belatedly sourced this is the base document for  the majority of UK domestic and UK outbound staying visits statistics.  Alongside the UK Day Visits and International Passenger surveys it is widely used to inform or at the very least calibrate many of the local tourism models and estimates.  For this reason its a critical document.

For the non-statisticians amongst us, “Tourism Night Visits at a glance”, page 4 – 5 and “2017 Headlines pages 18 – 33” contains most of what you need to know.    Pages 35 to 100  do contain a wealth of  useful information, but to save time I recommend reading the summaries of overnight visits page 35 and longer term trends  page 77.  Thereafter the top tip if you do wish to delve further beyond page 35 is to ignore the table and read the narrative comment on the right of each page first. If the content is of relevance to your circumstance then look at the detail in the table.

  • 2019 Inbound visitor forecast.  Normally issued in more detail and towards the close of the previous calendar year this short report gives VB’s best estimates for inbound tourism for the following year.  Released for 2019 in February this year’s short web-based report contains more caveats than usual and sensibly promises a post Brexit update later in the year.  The forecast is of interest, while VB’s  analysis of some of the potential headwinds contained in the narrative comment is well worth reading.

Both reports can be found in as the latest additions to our extensive library of tourism report and statistics at: 

3. VB/VE are offering a number of appointments  applications closing on 17 March.  Of these one central and two regional training appointments may be of  particular interest to colleagues:

ETW Conference 1 April 19

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Bookings for our joint annual conference which is again being held with the Tourism Alliance and Tourism Society in London on 1 March 2019 are going well. We anticipate that, with the addition of speakers, guests and hosts from the three hosting organisations we will reach the fixed upper limit of 150 delegates. If you haven’t done so yet, please do consider booking soon to avoid disappointment.

The final version of the programme has now been published and it can be found together with the booking details and links on our conference page at:

For ease of planning the conference runs from 10 am for 10.30 start and concludes by 3 pm to allow delegates to move to attend the Annual Tourism Industry’s Parliamentary Reception to be held in the Houses of Parliament from 4 pm to  6 pm.   All delegates are invited to attend the reception at no additional cost.

We are told that it is hoped that the Tourism Sector Deal will be signed off just before the end of this months.  No guarantees but if that were indeed the case then it would not be unreasonable to expect the Minister to address the outline of the Industry Deal within his speeches during the conference and/or  Parliamentary reception.