Month: July 2019

Defra Select Committee inquiry opens for written evidence

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The (D) EFRA select committee inquiry on Agriculture achieving net-zero emissions is taking written evidence until 30 Sep 19.   A bit of an oddity as it clearly isn’t specifically about tourism, indeed outwardly it has nothing to do with tourism.  However, my instincts suggest that the already well-established link between tourism and farm diversification and the typical land usage based carbon off-set mechanisms in use, like planting tree and creating new forests and reclaiming peatlands, means it is a subject area that, at the very least, rural tourism interests should aware of and preferably influencing.

Rural and national strategic tourism interests may already be all over the issues involved and preparing to respond, but just in case not, the call for evidence is now the latest item under the drop-down menu from the Consultations tab on , or go direct to the page at:

This is a departmental Select Committee inquiry and an opportunity to influence, those who have some significant influence on but no direct power over future Defra policies.  As you will be aware, Government are mandated to give a written response to every Select Committee inquiry report.  Unfortunately, beyond acknowledging the points raised there is no compulsion for them then to act on any recommendation made.  Nonetheless, we know that well timed, well informed inquiries have led to some remarkably positive changes.  For example, the Coastal Communities Fund, the origins of which can be traced back to the 2007 coastal towns inquiry.


Job vacancy details updated

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The job vacancy link for the post at East Riding of Yorkshire published 5 days ago as now been updated.  The detail of the post remain extant, there is just a more detailed narrative around the job, the place, the employers and the person required.  Access the new link via the original post below:

Senior job vacancy East Riding of Yorkshire.


East Riding of Yorkshire have created a new senior post of Group Destinations Manager offered at c£53k closing 8 Aug 19.  See more under the “Job vacancies+”  main menu tab of or go direct to the relevant page on our corporate website at:

As ever, if the position is not for you then please consider circulating to individuals or to professional group contacts who might be interested. 

Westminster Council win a potentially landmark Airbnb appeal

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Westminster Council have recently won an appeal against their decision to evict a tenant and recover unlawful profit of £100k made letting a central London council flat since 2013.  The tenant created a fake online identity “Lara” but the council investigations were able to link the listing via reviews to the defendant Toby Harman and his bank statements subsequently proved that he had been in receipt of significant payments from Airbnb for a number of years.

Although there are a number of factors that make the case unusual; not least the location and therefore the sheer scale of  fraudulent profits available, the case, if sufficiently publicised, does serve as: a warning to others abusing social housing anywhere.  It also creates further useful legal precedent and it could act as an encouragement to others Councils with similar social housing issues to pursue such investigation, despite the level of resources required and the lack of direct cooperation from platform providers.  We would of course argue that the lack of willing cooperation adds unnecessarily to that resource issue and in turn strengthen the industry led case to Government for greater transparency around who letting what, when to whom.

Westminster Council like many others are calling for a national short-term letting registration scheme to help discourage illegal practices and to aid detection. Its  specifically created housing standards task force is currently investigating  over 1,500 short-term rental issues, although it is not clear to us just how many of those are sharing economy related.

It is also worth noting that most private residential landlords would not allow their properties to be sublet, in part to avoid problems of falling foul of HMO licencing provisions but also for reasons like invalidating property insurance and from the point of view of protecting the interests  and the safety of other residents. “Almost all well drafted Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements  include a provision that bans the act, which would cover listing rooms on  Airbnb”.  It is not uncommon for private tenants to be taken to court for breaching tenancy rules, including subletting.

Problems around the increasing incidents of headline grabbing, deliberate misuse of sharing accommodation by the customer, for example, as venues for stag and hen does, through pop up brothels,  to illegal raves sites, may serve to make detection and subsequent action by private (and public) landlords all the more common in future.

A press article on the Westminster case has been added to the “Sharing economy and OTA” page that can be accessed from the main menu tab, or go direct to the page at:

New reports, consumer research, national statistics and media articles added to

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1. The Government’s response to its 6-month review of the Package Travel Regulation 2018 has now been published. It appears to recognise most of the issues raised by respondents but then falls well short of agreeing to change the regulation itself or more importantly correct the UK’s interpretation or, failing that, amend the guidance to clarify the intent. I understand why the regulation can’t be changed but I am less convinced that the same applies to either the suspect interpretation, or especially the confusing guidance. The 12-monthly review due by EU regulation to start soon has been delayed until the outcome and timing of changing EU membership is clearer.  See the response, which has been added to the original consultation at:

2. I have added a piece of VE consumer research into multi-generational visitor from 10 markets, including the rest of the UK, to the research and statistics library. This is a consumer group which may present opportunities for many established destinations. Although, intended for an England audience, there are pointers for the other Home Nation’s within it. Sadly, there are few shortcuts, so  if you are interested in the subject material you will need to scan or read it in full:

3. VisitBritain latest edition of Foresight gives the regional spread of inbound tourism in 2018. The summary and key metrics can be found at pages 4 and 5 and 7 and 8. It is then worth looking at your own region’s two-page statistic somewhere between 9 and 41, at the top towns  at 44, day trips (a link) at 48 and the long-term regional share at page 50. The report can be found in the protected members section at paragraph 3 of the following page:

Members can email me for a password reminder if they have lost it:

4. I have been adding links to a number of articles on movements within the sharing economy at:

on the gig economy at:

and overtourism at:

I don’t always inform you of additions on these last three pages, assuming that you will go looking at these sections if  and when you are having an issue or are in need some background material. Hopefully this  post will act to remind you that there is all manner of other useful information on our corporate website.  If in doubt about what  exactly is on there, or where, just ask and I will point you to the relevant pages or find it for you elsewhere.

Senior job vacancy East Riding of Yorkshire.

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East Riding of Yorkshire have created a new senior post of Group Destinations Manager offered at c£53k closing 8 Aug 19.  See more under the “Job vacancies+”  main menu tab of or go direct to the relevant page on our corporate website at:

New senior Destination Management post offered.

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Visit Lincoln are seeking to appoint a new CEO. The job is offered at c £40k to £44k based in Lincoln with a closing date  for applications of Sunday 4 August 2019.

See more at under the “Job vacancies +” main menu tab, or go direct to the relevant page in our corporate website at: 

Carbon offsetting in transport. A call for evidence

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This Department for Transport consultation is “seeking views and evidence on the role that greater consumer information and carbon offsetting can play in mitigating emissions from ticketed travel across all transport modes such as train travel, bus and coach travel, flights and ferries”. DfT  “are also interested in any evidence that could improve our (their) understanding of the role that carbon offsetting can play in non-ticketed road transport, recognising the contribution from this sub-sector to the overall UK transport omissions” (36%) .

The paper also states that: “Ensuring the provision of effective consumer information is important to support passenger choice and  that customers can make informed decisions” and that “providing consumer with information on the environmental impact of different travel options could help change consumer  behaviour, assisting in influencing passenger choice, towards more sustainable journey types“.  Combined these statements suggests to that publicising the offset cost to the consumer (I.e. flagging the scale of  their personal impact), rather than necessarily collecting the offset surcharge itself is the primary objective that Government have in mind, at least in the first instance. However, if government are to achieve its ambitious environmental targets, they will need to reduce travel, influence the modes used and then offset all of the resulting emissions that remain.  That means eventually all carbon surcharges will need to be collected and used to offset carbon usage, whether that is by a voluntary approach or, more likely, by compulsion.

The consultation gives examples of voluntary, opt in, offset payments already offered by some airlines and goes on to suggests a voluntary opt out approach as a better means of engaging the public across all transport modes.  The paper also expresses some of the difficulties, including: the problems of measuring the carbon impact of certain journey types made in certain transport modes, the possible difficulties of collecting voluntary contributions for ticketed journeys not bought online and for journeys made by say season ticket holders.

Some commentators have already expressed concern that a widely adopted voluntary carbon offset payment scheme may  quickly evolve in to a compulsory scheme with a mandatory offset charge being applied in time. As indicated above I tend to agree with that this is the likely direction of travel, if  our “share” of the targets are ever to be met from within the tourism and leisure sectors.

Although only 18 pages in length it isn’t a particularly quick read.  There are no simple shortcuts other than to suggest that the main points on ticketed and non-ticketed transport are contained on pages 16 and 17, although not necessarily with the all-important context attached, which you will find spread across much of the rest of the document.

Should destination managers be interested at this relatively abstract stage?  Given that this is essentially about influencing travel choice, including travel for the purposes of leisure and tourism by all transport modes, via the means of a proposed voluntary additional charge, then this is an issue that should at least be on everyone’s radar.  For those who have a degree of reliant on ticketed air, sea or rail travel (where this is likely to bite first) then it is more pressing, despite it being at the early evidence gathering stages.

Any comments you might have that would help inform a potential British Destinations response and/or our contribution to the Tourism Alliance response, would be welcomed.  The call for evidence closes on 26 September 2019.

Find the consultation under the Consultations drop-down menu  at  or go direct to the relevant page at:

Gove gives support to comprehensive deposit return scheme

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In a speech earlier this week Michael Gove staked his claim on continuing as the Environment Secretary under the next PM and gave his personal support for a comprehensive all in approach (all sizes of drink containers and all materials) rather than the on the go approach which would explicitly target containers for  drinks of 750 ml or less.

The forthcoming Environmental Bill and within that the deliberations around the deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland needs to be followed quite closely by destination management interests, as there are likely be significant implications for businesses, for public and private sector waste management and potentially for place and public space depending on how and where the deposits on empty containers are redeemed:–all-in–deposit-return-system-for-plastics/

Defra Bathing Water Newsletter

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For those in England, just in case you may have missed the Defra June Bathing Water Newsletter I am attaching a copy:

Bathing water newsletter June 2019

New sharing accommodation research available from GTS (UK)

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Colleagues at Global Tourism Solutions  (UK) have conducted a major pilot study designed to better understand the sharing economies impact on the accommodation sector in Wales and in turn that sector’s impact on local tourism estimates.  The preliminary review, an outline of which is given below, will be of great interests to most destination managers, regardless of where in the UK they operate:

Peer-to-peer accommodation in Wales

Over the past few years it has become apparent that the peer-to-peer accommodation market, as represented by Airbnb, HomeAway and the like, is becoming increasingly significant as a source of accommodation bookings. This represents a challenge, as the traditional methods of collecting data about staying visitors – such as occupancy and bed stock surveys – are not collecting information on this market, resulting in a probably increasing gap in our estimates for the volume and value of tourism.

To tackle this problem, GTS (UK) Ltd, in partnership with twelve unitary authorities in Wales, have set up a pilot study to devise a robust methodology for evaluating the peer-to-peer market and produce volume and value estimates for the impact of this market in Wales.

Data purchased from AirDNA provided monthly figures for a range of variables including room and place listings, bookings, occupancy, and average daily rates. Historic data was available from 2016-2018, and the study will run until the end of 2019. A preliminary report has been prepared based on the January 2017-December 2018 data for the study area.

For that period the total number of entire properties listed on peer-to-peer sites grew from 2,921 to 12,377 (322%) while the number of private rooms grew from 1,617 to 3,014 (101%). The proportion of private room listings fell from 36% to 20%. For entire place and private room listings combined the highest growth rates were seen in Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Conwy.

Of the available listings, an average of 78% in each month received at least one booking. The average occupancy rates for entire place bookings were 49% in 2017 and 56% in 2018. Across the whole study area there was a total of 73,983 booked listing nights for entire places in 2017 and 159,787 in 2018 – an increase of 116%. The highest growth was seen in Anglesey and Conwy, with the lowest in Cardiff, due to the capital’s early adoption of Airbnb and a relative levelling out of growth there.

Further research is ongoing to identify how much of the growth in the peer-to -peer market reflects an increase in accommodation capacity rather than merely a shift in booking methods. Once this additionality element has been identified we will start to evaluate the economic impact of the sector.

The study has so far backed up the anecdotal evidence that the peer-to-peer sector is of increasing significance in the tourism market. What has been particularly interesting is that the early positioning of Airbnb and similar as a tool for booking mainly individual rooms and mainly in cities is now very far from the real picture. In Wales at least there has been a rapid increase in importance of whole property rentals, and swift growth in the last year or so in rural, seaside and small town locations.

The full report is available from Cathy James, Director (Wales) of GTS (UK) Ltd, who will also be happy to answer any questions about the project.