At its Annual General Meeting held today at the InterContinental Hotel, Westminster, the Tourism Alliance, the industry’s umbrella group representing some 50 organisations including RDO, set out its policies to grow the £134bn sector of the economy.
The new policies fall into six core categories:
1. Improve International Competitiveness
Includes work to achieve more accessible visas, lower levels of Air Passenger Duty and VAT, increased airport capacity and more support in wining bids for international events to be held in Britain.
2. Grow Domestic Tourism
Makes the case for re-examination of baseline funding for tourism development and promotion, as well as proposing that the domestic facing tourism related agencies in Arts, Culture, Sport and Heritage work more closely with VisitEngland to develop a co-ordinated programme for promoting domestic tourism.
3. Lift the Burden on Business
Includes calls for progress on the long overdue deregulation proposals made by the Tourism Taskforce eighteen months ago and proposes revisions to the Package Travel Directive and a voice for tourism, alongside other commercial sectors, in campaigning for a more progressive and less costly business environment.
4. Co-ordinate for Growth
Urges government support and resource to ensure a functioning tourism network in England and proposes a Tourism Industry Growth Council. This would provide a solution to the lack of joined-up government and would be set the task of establishing a growth strategy for the industry to be embedded into wider Government policy.
5. Improve Quality and Skills
deals with quality assessment schemes, tax incentives for investment in training and development, especially for small businesses and business improvement allowances
6. Increase Sustainability
Covers good planning practices for tourism related development, the introduction of daylight saving and incentives for all-weather facilities.
Michael Hirst, Outgoing Chairman of the Alliance, in reporting on a year when the sectors grew by 6.9% and provided a third of all new jobs in the economy said, “Not every year can be filled with iconic events such as the Queen’s Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics. These new policies are designed to secure even greater growth, more jobs, and new businesses to add to the 249,000 already in the sector. They will generate new investment and exports through attracting overseas visitors too”. “The industry is ready to deliver its part in growth. Government must now urgently address a range of key issues that are acting as a barrier to that growth”.