Annual Conference save the date

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As previously indicated the 2017/18 British Destinations conference has been reprogrammed to take place in March 2018 as a joint event with the Tourism Alliance.  I am pleased to announce that the provisional date of Monday 19 March 2018 is now confirmed.

The event will take place at a central London venue from 10 am to 3 pm and it will be followed for those wish to attend by the Annual Tourism Industry Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons between 4 pm and 6 pm which is held each year to marks English Tourism week.  A high-profile group of speakers is being lined up to address the conference, with a principal theme, subject to confirmation of a successful bid, being the delivery of the UK’s tourism industry sector deal.  Other more contentious issues within the British Destinations lobbying brief will either be included within the programme or addressed within the debate around sector deal.

More details to follow; meanwhile please diary the date.  Your support for the new style joint event would be greatly appreciated, not least because we are hoping that this will become the model for our future conferences and the catalyst for more joint working with the Tourism Alliance and its largely tourism trade association membership.



New research from ABTA now available

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Travelling together – The value of UK outbound tourism, is an interesting new report commissioned ABTA.  It looks largely at the value of UK outbound tourism to the EU and individual EU nations and also estimates the value within the UK associated with UK resident’s travelling to the EU.

The values are significant and when considered alongside  VB’s recent Annual Report which notes that in 2016, 2/3 of all inbound tourism to the UK was from Europe, you can start to understand why there may be growing concern in some quarters regarding the potential impacts of any significant physical, fiscal or administrative barriers to travel to and from Europe post Brexit.  The ABTA report’s messages are very clearly targeted as much, if not more, towards the EU and European states as they are towards the UK Governments.

It’s a strategic level report, probably of limited immediate operational relevance to many UK destinations but at only 12 pages it is definitely worth scanning if not reading in full, even if UK outbound and international inbound tourism are not your primary concerns:

2017 The value of UK outbound tourism

Two job vacancies at Experience Oxfordshire, closing 23 Nov and 4 Dec 17.

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Experience Oxfordshire are offer 2 new full-time appointment based in Oxford:  a PR and Marketing Executive at £18k to £22k closing 23 Nov 17 and a Head of Commercial Services post at £38k to £45k closing 4 Dec 17.

Find the detail under the  “Job vacancies +” menu tab at Britishdestinations.net or go direct to the pages here and here.

Colleagues seek your help

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Can you help colleagues find information on local experience of land or road train provision and usage?  See the latest questions posed on this subject under the, “Forum: ask questions get answers”, main menu tab or go direct to the page at:   https://britishdestinations.net/need-an-answer/land-train-usage/

English Destination Forum, London 13 Nov 17

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VB/VE have published a reminder for those English destination management practitioners who have not yet booked to attend the English Destination Forum meeting on 13 December 2017.  The reminder helpfully includes details of the programme.  Original message from VB/VE reads:

Invitation: 13 November 2017
Dear partners,
We would like to remind you that the next English Destinations Forum is taking place on Monday 13 November in London (11-4pm) at St. Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster, London, SW1H 0QW. Please find agenda below:


10.30 Tea and coffee

11.00  VisitBritain/ VisitEngland update: Sally Balcombe, VB/VE CEO
11.30 Minister’s update: John Glen MP, Tourism Minister
11.50 Marketing update: Clare Mullin, VB/VE Marketing Director
12.30 Lunch
1.15 Choice of two seminars:

  • DMO diversification and commercialisation: Nicola Said, Marketing Cheshire; Sally Greenaway, Make It York; David Thornton, Isle of Wight BID
  • VisitEngland’s Business Support activity: Ross Calladine, VE

1.45 Choice of two seminars:

  • Rural funding: Andy Tordoff, Rural Payments Agency
  • DMO diversification and commercialisation (repeated): Nicola Said, Marketing Cheshire; Sally Greenaway, Make It York; David Thornton, Isle of Wight BID

2.15 Coffee break
2.45 Choice of two seminars:

  • Introduction to VisitEngland Assessment Services: Andrew Oxley, The AA
  • How to make the most of English Tourism Week: David Curtis-Brignell, GoToPlaces; Nicola Said, Marketing Cheshire; Charlotte Sanders, VE Senior Press Officer

3.15 Choice of two seminars:

  • Working with Google – opportunities and challenges: Discussion led by Nick Brooks-Sykes, Marketing Manchester
  • How to make products bookable for the international markets: Suzy Faulkner and Claire Ford, VB Product Development team

3.45 Networking
4.30 Finish

Please R.S.V.P. to anna.adrien@visitengland.org if you would like to attend.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sally Balcombe

Chief Executive

GB Day Visitor Survey and other new research now available.

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The 2016 GB Day visitor survey has been published by the National Tourist Boards and added to our extensive national level research and statistic library.  At 249 pages it is a big document containing a lot of detail.

To help you: the headline summary is at page 11 and 12.   Individual graphs on different types of day visits, for different types of activity, by different geography and by different destination typology can be found from pages 14 to 78. They are worth looking at but I recommend that you read the summary description and key points given in the right hand column on most pages, before deciding whether you need to look in more detail at each of the graphs and supporting text. The content of some pages will be far more relevant to your destination’s circumstance than others, so you can then focus on those.

From page 79 onward you will find full data tables used to produce the report, plus definitions and technical detail including descriptions of methodology etc.  These are probably best left to be read by the statisticians among you.

Importantly there are references at page 133 and 214 to attached Excel files giving breakdown by volume and value for English Local Authorities and English Counties and by tourism area (as defined on page 6) for both Wales and Scotland.   Tables covering your own localities should be of interests to you all.  However, they are only accessible if you download the PDF document and then view it via Acrobat Reader. They will then appear, regardless of which page you are viewing, as a group of attachments either on the left or right of the document viewing screen.  See the full GB Day Visitor Survey at:


I have also belatedly added the Visitor attraction trends in England 2016 report first published in late July.  If attraction are your area of interest then you probably do need to read/scan the full report, otherwise the headline findings can be found on pages 8 to 10:


I have also added the latest Foresight edition 156 on Perception and knowledge of Britain and its competitors 2016 to the protected VB section of the website.  An interesting read with some potential for local application.  Foresight edition 155, which is essentially on the propensity for visitors to visit Britain only or as part of a multi international destination trip, was also posted there some weeks ago but not promoted at that time.  It is interesting at a regions and Nations level but probably of less direct relevance to local management and promotion:


Email me if you, or your computer, has forgotten the protected area login.

The VB/VE 2016/17 annual review is now an online presentation rather than a “document”.  The individual presentations on GB inbound and English domestic performance in 2016 (left hand bottom two boxes on the review page) could be of particular interest to you or of use in presentations locally?  When the two are viewed consecutively figures like the £72bn value of English domestic tourism in 2016 as compared to the £22.5bn UK inbound tourism value are particularly striking.  For a proper understanding of what the presentations are tell us it is important that you read the main text  and do not simply rely on the headline statements for context.  Find the VB/VE Annual Review 2016/17 at the bottom of our VB protected page, or go direct to it at:


CMA launch online search and booking websites consultation. Closes 15 Dec 17.

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have announced an investigation into the practices being used in online search and booking websites such as online travel agents (OTAs) and meta search engines (MSEs).   Their investigations involve a public consultation looking at the experiences of both accommodation providers and customers using booking websites as a sales or purchase tool.  Both close for comment on 15 December 2017.

We would urge you to ensure that your local providers are passed the accommodation business consultation  link and that they are encouraged to participate before the looming deadline in this important investigation.  There is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that many, particular smaller, local providers are deeply unhappy about booking websites.  This is their one and only passing opportunity to try and do something proactive about it:  CMA questionnaire-for-accommodation-providers-online-hotel-booking

You may also wish to consider how best, the public could be engaged locally in the customer consultation.  Access the full CMA consultation page  here .

British Destinations and the Tourism Alliance are also seeking comments from destination managers and via you, your local businesses for use in the Tourism Alliance and, if it proves appropriate, the British Destinations, formal responses to CMA.  Your comments need to be with me by no later than Wednesday 1 December so I can get them consolidated and to Kurt Janson by his deadline of 4 December.  The sooner I have your comment the better.

The investigation is looking at issues like how search results are ranked, for example, whether factors like levels of commission paid are distorting the ranking process?  Other issues include the use of undue or false pressure selling techniques, inaccurate or deceptive discount claims, lack of clarity on total cumulative costs or the inclusion of hidden extra charges.  In addition we would like to ensure that issues around market dominance, costs of engagement, limitations on participation, impacts on regulatory frameworks, policing of quality and other standards, freeloading on destination marketing efforts and a raft of other wider impacts on destination management are all adequately aired; albeit that these issues are not necessarily at the heart of an investigation that is essentially looking in to fair competition practices and accuracy of marketing claims.

The B&B Association submitted a formal complaint to CMA in August 2017. Their briefing note on this provides some more useful background information:   https://britishdestinations.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/bba-ota-campaign.docx