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The United Kingdom is rich in cultural heritage; it offers landscapes of outstanding natural beauty as well as vibrant city life and urban attractions. From the 1,000 years of history of the Tower of London to the unique Giant’s Causeway clifftop experience in Northern Ireland, UK tourism offers enduring memories and experiences for both domestic and inbound visitors.
In 2018, the UK attracted 38 million international visitors and this number is expected to grow by a quarter by 2025. Tourism is our calling card to the world, and it has never been more important to ensure that Britain continues to be a world-class destination competing for global business.
This Sector Deal backs our small businesses, our entrepreneurs and our innovators. It sets out an ambitious agenda that will deliver the increases in productivity and investment that will benefit local economies right across the country.
We are introducing Tourism Zones, which will bring businesses and local organisations together to establish a coordinated strategy for growth in their local visitor economy and to increase off-season visits. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in these areas will receive targeted digital skills training and be offered practical guidance in management and leadership through the Be the Business programme to boost productivity.
We are launching a new independent Tourism Data Hub with input from some of our biggest travel companies - online travel agents, booking platforms, and banking and credit card companies. This will allow organisations, including SMEs, to make the most of the big data revolution to understand visitor activity and product preferences.
The government will introduce 2 new T levels in Cultural Heritage and Visitor Attractions, and Catering, to help deliver the industry workers of the future, whilst industry will deliver 30,000 apprenticeships per year by 2025 and will lead a mentoring programme aimed at supporting 10,000 employees to enhance their careers and ensure they can progress within the sector.
We will also work together to ensure that the UK becomes the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025, increasing the number of international disabled visitors by a third.
The UK will continue to be Europe’s leading hub for hotel investment for the next decade with industry committing to build over 130,000 additional bedrooms by 2025, with the majority of these outside of London.
Alongside the Sector Deal, the UK government is publishing an International Business Events Action Plan. The Action Plan outlines in detail how the government will support the business events industry in attracting, growing and creating international business events to bring even greater numbers of business travellers to UK shores.
Together these measures will ensure the tourism industry can continue to grow and benefit every region of the UK. This Sector Deal will ensure visitors will continue to offer visitors both now and in future the very best experiences of our incredible country.
Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
The Tourism Sector Deal sets out how the government and industry will work in partnership to boost productivity, develop the skills of the UK workforce and support destinations to enhance their visitor offer.
The government’s modern Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. The tourism sector has the scale and geographical reach to deliver on this ambition.
Increase in visitor numbers
In 2018 the UK attracted 38 million international visitors, who added £23 billion to the economy1, making tourism one of the country’s most important industries and the third largest service export. Current forecasts predict the sector will deliver a 23% increase in inbound visitors by 20252. Domestic tourism is also set to increase by an estimated 3% per annum until 20253. In 2018, British residents took 119 million overnight trips in the UK, totalling 372 million nights away and spending £24 billion4.
The Deal seeks to develop the infrastructure necessary for this influx of visitors. It also creates a framework to position industry to take advantage of new markets as well as leveraging initiatives designed to deliver the Grand Challenges relating to the data-driven economy, clean growth and an ageing society.
With this predicted increase in visitors, there needs to be investment in the infrastructure to accommodate and entertain them. 130,000 hotel rooms will be built over the next 5 years, representing the largest hotel investment anywhere in Europe. 75% of these new rooms will be outside the capital, supporting the government’s intention that the benefits of tourism should be felt across the whole of the UK. Significant investment will also be made in attractions by the private and public sectors —including investment in both our natural and built heritage, museums and arts.
Investment will also be made in the people who work in the sector, so that the growth in visitor numbers can, in turn, create equivalent growth in well-paid employment opportunities. The industry will create 30,000 apprenticeship starts each year and a new mentoring scheme will help 10,000 employees develop their careers in the sector. This will complement a commitment by the government to ensure that our education system supports the industry’s needs, including the rollout of 2 new T level courses.
This will ensure that visitors to the UK are served by a highly knowledgeable and skilled workforce.
Resources will also be better used as a result of this deal, as productivity in the sector is currently hampered by the overreliance on the traditional July-September peak season. 38% of holidays by inbound visitors take place in these 3 months5. This deal sets out how the UK will increase the number of off-season visitors via 2 major interventions. Firstly, the government will create up to 5 new Tourism Zones to support areas wishing to improve their tourism offer, particularly focusing on those areas looking to boost off-season visits.
Secondly, business events often drive inbound visits outside of peak leisure season, and the UK government is launching an International Business Events Action Plan in conjunction with the Sector Deal. This plan sets out how the UK will maintain its position as a leading nation for hosting business events in Europe and sets out clear steps to bring more major conferences and exhibitions to the UK.
Visitors of the future
In recent years, competition around the world has seen a race to build the best understanding of customers, both in how they travel, but also how they search, feel inspired and spend their money. It is no longer simply a case of looking backwards at trends to understand the future. To be globally competitive, we need real-time data and so we will develop a new Tourism Data Hub, which will help Britain make the most of its tourism offer by understanding the motivation and movement of its visitors. The Tourism Data Hub will be a ground-breaking new way of helping the sector to gain a better understanding of its potential market. The UK also has the ambition to become the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025, increasing the number of international visitors with disabilities by 33%.
A key ambition for the Industrial Strategy is to establish long-term partnerships between industry and the government that aim to transform productivity and boost earning power in sectors across the UK.
This Sector Deal brings together a coalition of government, businesses and trade associations who have a shared ambition to improve the industry’s performance and help to fulfil its potential and deliver wide-reaching benefits. It reinforces the 5 foundations of the Industrial Strategy: Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business Environment and Places, as well as maximising the opportunities from the Grand Challenges.
The 5 foundations
The Industrial Strategy commits to establishing the UK as the world’s most innovative economy. The tourism sector has always been at the heart of new technology including some of the world’s best-known websites for booking flights, holidays and accommodation.
But there are also obstacles to this innovation, including the high proportion of small businesses who can find it challenging to obtain market intelligence for accurate business planning. This Deal puts small businesses at the heart of the sector’s innovation by creating a Tourism Data Hub. This will enable the sharing of data from major tourism businesses, which will allow the sector to understand consumer habits and target them more effectively.
The government set out in the Industrial Strategy its vision to create good jobs and greater earning power for all. The tourism sector supports an estimated 1.6 million jobs across the UK6, giving it the potential to offer development opportunities right across the country. In the future, the industry will seek to attract, train and retain a more skilled workforce. This ambition will be overseen by a newly formed Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, chaired by Grant Hearn, former CEO of Travelodge. The Board will oversee a significant increase in the number of approved apprenticeship starts to 30,000 a year by 2025 and a mentoring programme to support 10,000 employees to enhance their careers and ensure they remain within the sector.
Industry will lead a £1 million retention and recruitment campaign, to demonstrate to young people that tourism can be a life-long, fulfilling, career.
The Industrial Strategy commits to upgrading the UK’s infrastructure and as part of that, the Tourism Sector Deal sets out how the public and private sectors will invest in our assets, from attractions to transport and accommodation. This investment will allow us to prepare for the extra 23% visitors we expect annually by 2025 and ensure that our offer remains world-leading in an ever-increasing competitive marketplace.
This investment includes the addition of 130,000 hotel rooms across the UK by 2025, 75% of which are outside the capital. Investment is also being made in attractions across the country from the English Coast Path - the longest coastal path in the world - to a new Game of Thrones studio tour in Northern Ireland. The range of tourism product available and currently in development has never been so varied.
The UK government’s new International Business Events Action Plan will create the right environment for attracting business events to the UK, enabling us to maintain our position as a leading destination for hosting international business events in Europe.
The government wishes to make holidays in the UK available for all and for the UK to become the most accessible destination in Europe. In recent years the sector has made significant contributions to improving accessibility and to support that laudable, as well as astute, investment the UK government will convene a conference to share good practice and discuss where best to target our interventions. The British Tourist Authority has committed to producing a new space on their website to provide tourists with comprehensive accessibility information. Additionally, the organisation will take more steps to ensure that all its marketing collateral is as inclusive as possible.
There are 200,000 Small and medium sized enterprises in the tourism industry that often require business support, from understanding international markets to helping them go digital. The British Tourist Authority currently offers a range of support to them and this support will be enhanced through the Great Britain Tourism Exchange, a business-to-business platform which connects tourism suppliers to global distributors.
The Industrial Strategy commits to helping prosperous communities thrive across the UK. Tourism is about place building - its success is based on developing and caring for local attractions and amenities and managing growth so that investment enhances the lives of local residents as well as visitors.
In rural areas diversification into tourism, by farmers, has helped keep their businesses sustainable and protected our landscape. In many coastal areas tourism is the lead employer and source of economic growth. The development of Tourism Zones, will see the government and industry support the most innovative and ambitious areas to grow their visitor economy.
The British Tourist Authority is the national tourist agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. However, tourism is a devolved competence, as such, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, each have their own national board responsible for attracting visitors. The UK government, where appropriate, will continue to consult the devolved governments on future work and join up on projects the devolved governments would like to partner in. There are also a number of policies outlined in this document where the competence is not devolved, most notably visas and immigration. The Skills and Hospitality Board established by the industry proposes working with all 4 nations on the skills agenda.
To generate good jobs and greater earning power for all.
To ensure high quality tourism training is available, so that the sector can attract, retain and develop a workforce with the skills it needs both now and in the future.
Government action to support tourism
The government will work closely with industry on the rollout of 2 new T Level courses to help deliver the hospitality and tourism workers of the future.
The government will continue working with industry, through ‘Fire It Up’ and other campaigns, to promote apprenticeship and the opportunities for careers in the hospitality and tourism sector.
The government will engage fully with industry during its Post-16 Qualifications review to ensure the sector has an opportunity to feed into future policy development.
The Department for Work and Pensions will continue its partnership agreement with the hospitality industry to help provide its customers with a structured route into work in the Sector.
Sector action to support tourism
The sector will create 30,000 apprenticeship starts each year by 2025, covering all grades, from entry-level roles up to degree-level apprenticeship, and across a range of disciplines.
Employers will commit over £1 million of funding to an ambitious retention and recruitment programme to revolutionise the pipeline of talent that joins the sector.
A new industry mentoring programme will be developed to support 10,000 employees each year. This will aim to enhance careers as well as helping to ensure talented people remain within the sector.
The sector will increase the percentage of the workforce receiving in-work training to 80%.
The Industrial Strategy seeks to develop prosperous communities throughout the United Kingdom.
Developing the visitor economy and places that people want to visit.
Government action to support tourism
The government will pilot up to 5 new Tourism Zones to increase visitor numbers across the country. More information about the bidding process will be released later in the year, with a view to commencing projects in 2020.
Tourism Zones will also receive a range of support coordinated by central government.
Sector action to support tourism
Tourism Zones will be developed and delivered by businesses local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (in England) who will determine the specific priorities of an area.
A range of larger businesses have offered training and support for small and medium enterprises within Tourism Zones.
To be the best place to start and grow a business
To improve the productivity of the tourist industry and establish the UK
Government action to support tourism
Alongside the Sector Deal the UK government’s International Business Events Action Plan 2019-2025 has been published and sets out the steps the UK government will take to support the UK to maintain its position as a leading destination for hosting international business events in Europe.
The UK government will achieve this by providing support in relation to the 6 key drivers that event decision makers consider when determining where to host an event, from providing government advocacy to financial support.
Sector action to support tourism
The Events Industry Board, set up to advise government, has identified 2 priority areas which they can help and support - skills and infrastructure. These priorities are being considered by working groups set up by the Board and will report later in the year.
A major upgrade to the UK’s Infrastructure.
To ensure the tourism sector can support the government’s ambition to deliver a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure.
Government action to support tourism
The UK government will make travel to the UK and around the UK easier for tourists through the development of its Maritime and Aviation strategies, as well as a number of rail policy developments.
The UK government is investing in a number of projects across the Museums, Heritage and Arts sectors that will enhance visitor’s experience. These include supporting the conservation work at Wentworth Woodhouse, the development of a new interpretation centre at Jodrell Bank and the development of England’s Coast Path, the world’s longest coastal path.
The UK government will launch a new £250,000 competition to improve broadband connectivity in conference centres. This will be a UK wide competition.
The UK will build on its excellent existing offer, to become the most accessible destination in Europe.
The British Tourist Authority will increase their publicity about accessible travel and provide inbound visitors with increased information about the accessibility offer in the UK through a brand new website.
Sector action to support tourism
Industry will create an extra 130,000 bedrooms across the UK by 2025 - a significant increase of 21% in accommodation stock.
Industry will continue to invest in tourism attractions and innovative products, to remain a global leader in the experiences the UK offers visitors.
The sector will support the UK government’s ambition to be most accessible destination in Europe. They will take forward a number of measures, including better coordination of accessible itineraries online, and increasing the visibility of people with accessibility issues in promotion and marketing campaigns.
To be the world’s most innovative economy.
To increase the capacity of the sector to innovate by accelerating the development of digital technology and reducing barriers in the sector.
Government action to support tourism
The government has supported the British Tourist Authority development of Tourism Exchange Great Britain. Launching in June 2019, this is an online business-to-business platform, which will connect tourism suppliers to global distributors.
The UK government has provided £40,000 to the Tourism Alliance in England to carry out further research on how, where and why businesses within the sector obtain advice on compliance, which will inform the shape of further advisory services including Primary Authority.
Sector action to support tourism
The industry and British Tourist Authority will work together to create a new, independent Tourism Data Hub, which can help the sector across the UK to better understand visitors’ preferences for location, activities and products in real time. It will also enable the sector for the first time to gather better data about the people choosing not to holiday in the UK.
The Industrial Strategy aims to boost productivity by backing business to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK
The People element of the Tourism Sector Deal outlines how the sector, the UK government, and the devolved administrations will work together to invest in the millions of people who have been at the heart of hospitality and tourism economy.
The people who work in hospitality and tourism are not only the cornerstone of the sector’s growth in recent years but also form one of the fastest growing sectors of UK employment. Future economic growth and productivity gains in this dynamic sector will also, undoubtedly, be driven by the commitment and competence of the workforce - and the Tourism Sector Deal will be a pivotal vehicle for supporting the personal development of the people who already make UK tourism a global exemplar.
This workforce is part of a rich and diverse employment ecosystem including travel agents, tour operators, bed and breakfast hosts, museum guides, cruise captains, restaurateurs, bar staff and pub managers.
The bedrock of the experience that sees domestic and foreign visitors repeatedly return to their favourite British destinations is created by people who work in hotels, pubs and restaurants - who account for over 85% of those who work in the sector7. Annual churn, however, is high (industry estimates that gross labour turnover in hospitality is around 30%, with pub operators estimating churn levels as much as 75% and above)8.
Developing the workforce
Industry has committed to a number of programmes to help attract and retain talent in the industry, including a pledge to provide 30,000 new apprenticeship starts every year, in England, by 2025. These new apprenticeship will offer a wide range of occupational advancement at all levels, from entry level to degrees, and across a variety of disciplines - with support through the UK government’s ‘Fire It Up’ programme to promote the opportunities.
Industry as also resolved to deliver a mentoring programme - building on existing initiatives - that will support career development for 10,000 employees each year. Mentors will signpost personal training and development opportunities through clear demonstration of appropriate career pathways.
Additionally, industry will continue to work with the government to further enhance our understanding of the specific actions needed to mitigate against workforce shortages - in terms of roles, skills and locations. In this way in-work training programmes will be more targeted and the percentage of the workforce receiving training rises to 80% by 20219. An annual survey will be created to understand sector workforce needs in more detail and to monitor progress.
Case study: Birmingham City Airport
As one of the UK’s major international gateways and a supporter of over 30,000 roles in the West Midlands, Birmingham Airport has been developing its employment pipeline, ensuring visitors to the UK will continue to receive a world class service. Working with Solihull Council, the Airport has supported the Youth Promise Plus programme. The Airport has been working with local young adults ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ to support their journey towards sustainable employment or training. Over 60 Youth Promise Plus participants have received support in applying for roles in the Airport’s supply chain including security, customer service, retail, catering and ground handling.
The Airport also engages with The Prince’s Trust, where they fund the ‘Get into Airports’ programme, a pre-employment course supporting unemployed young people. The 2017/18 programme saw 51 completing the programme and 39 young people offered positions at the Airport. Ensuring a vibrant and skilled talent pipeline is key to the Airport’s expansion plans, as it intends to increase capacity by 40% by 2033.
To support this ambitious programme, the UK government will continue to work closely with industry to develop vocational qualifications, including the 2 new T levels which will cover Catering, and Cultural and Heritage Visitor Attractions.
These new technical learning opportunities will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 45 days. This is another avenue to ensuring future talent has a better expectation of hospitality and tourism roles - as well as the undeniable rewards of working in one of the most flexible, lively and convivial sectors in the country.
These 2 new T levels will create fantastic opportunities for those who wish to work in catering or at attractions, but the hospitality and tourism sector provides a vast array of roles and careers - from bar staff to global hotel managers.
To that end, government will engage with industry during the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below so that stakeholders are able to inform future policy development. Not all the sector’s prospective talent needs highly technical training, but many school leavers will derive a long-term benefit from targeted guidance that shapes practical skills and delivers applied learning - underpinning a successful transition into high quality, sustained, employment. This multi-agency engagement will also contribute to policy development of the emerging National Retraining Scheme.
Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board
The hospitality and tourism sector have committed over £1 million of funding to an ambitious programme to revolutionise the pipeline of talent that joins the sector. This means working in a different and more proactive way with schools, colleges, universities, older workers, JobCentrePlus, returners to work, charities and hard-to-reach groups.
It will combine a new digital approach to promoting the multitude of careers in the sector with more traditional routes as part of a cohesive campaign to support recruitment and retention - with hospitality and tourism career showcases in sector hot spots. It will be localised so that employer needs in different areas are considered and will reflect the different educational frameworks, current initiatives, and general landscapes of the 4 nations. It will also, most importantly, mean there is increased support for reaching marginalised and hard-to-reach potential employees, including those in rural areas who are often isolated and find it harder to access education and employment in their localities.
The Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board will build on the partnership created with the Department for Work and Pensions through Hospitality Works - so that, with the right pre-interview support, even more people will be able to emulate the millions of others that are thriving as a result of the wealth of opportunities from a career in hospitality and tourism.
These are significant commitments and will not be easily achieved. Delivery will be overseen by the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board. The Board will be chaired by Grant Hearn, former CEO of Travelodge. This will feed into the Tourism Industry Council, which will task the Skills Board with fulfilling the Sector Deal ambitions. The Board will, additionally, identify long-term workforce progress goals, such as a target for reducing employee churn and measuring the employment prospects of participants in the mentoring scheme, all of which will be measured by an annual workforce survey, administered by UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association.
Case study: Greene King
In March Greene King launched The Stepping Up Report, setting its ambitions to encourage greater social mobility. In addition to Greene King’s commitment to train 20,000 apprentices by 2022, the group is also formulating a new recruitment programme for ex-offenders and plans to increase internal appointments.
The apprenticeship and recruitment programmes aim to encourage people to make hospitality a career and provide clear career progression in the industry.
Developing the visitor economy and developing places that people want to visit.
The UK government has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to developing tourism product over the last 7 years, from the £40 million Discover England Fund, to the £78.8 million given to tourism projects through the Coastal Communities Fund. The Coastal Communities Fund has been used to support a range of tourism initiatives from establishing the National Coastal Tourism Academy, to supporting heritage railways such as the North York Moors, and pier and lido restoration including Clevedon Pier in Somerset.
There are already excellent products in every region of the country, which attract significant numbers of domestic and international visitors each year, but many places suffer from issues surrounding seasonality; around 38% of inbound holiday visits are made in the 3 months between July and September10. This creates a number of barriers as it can lead to high staff turnover and low productivity as businesses close or reduce activity in the winter months. For example, in 2018 the room occupancy rate in the UK was 85% in July but just 63% in January11. If we are to increase productivity in the sector we need to ensure that we increase visitors in the traditional off-peak season.
Case study: Diageo / Johnnie Walker
In 2018 Diageo announced a £150 million investment to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences in Scotland. The investment will facilitate immersive experiences that will connect visitors to the heritage and science behind an iconic Scottish product.
The Edinburgh location will be directly linked to 4 distilleries - Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish - encouraging people to visit the beautiful rural communities around Scotland where whisky is distilled and hear the stories of the people who produce it.
This investment in product creation and visitor dispersal in turn supports these local economies and communities. Diageo invests £1 million per year in its Learning for Life programme, which to date has created opportunities for over 1,300 people with almost 80% going on to sustained employment.
The ambition behind Tourism Zones is that they are focused on addressing local market failures in the visitor economy Each Zone will focus on delivering increased productivity at a local level by initiatives such as enhancing tourism product, extending the tourism season and investing in skills. Tourism is often place specific and it is the uniqueness of a place that makes it attractive to visitors. This means that, although areas may have similar issues around seasonality, solutions may be unique to an area.
The UK government will be piloting up to 5 Tourism Zones, and hopes that bids will reflect the rich diversity of the country including rural and coastal areas, as well as urban destinations.
Areas will become Tourism Zones via a bidding process; receiving targeted support from government if successful. Bids should align with any Local Industrial Strategy for the area.
The government expects Tourism Zones to develop from stakeholder collaboration, therefore in order to become a Zone, businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships in England, Destination Management Organisations and Local Authorities will need to join together to develop a strategy for how they plan to grow their local visitor economy.
The strategy would need to set out plans for addressing local market failures which are holding back productivity in the area.
Winning strategies are likely to be those with plans that address market failures and barriers to productivity, including:
- options for extending the tourism season outside of the summer months
- proposals for investing in the skills of the local workforce
- options for making the visitor economy more accessible
- investment opportunities to enhance and innovate the visitor experience, for example by promoting a destination’s heritage attractions or by creating an attraction around intangible assets
- options for ‘small-scale’ infrastructure developments
- a commitment to measuring job quality within the Zone, with a clear plan for reporting on the metrics chosen and how this information will be used to increase the provision of good work
- in support of our Clean Growth Grand Challenge, a commitment to develop and adopt a sustainable development plan to reduce environmental impacts within the Zone and to report on progress in order to drive change
Further information on the support on offer will be provided in due course. Should the devolved administrations wish to pursue the Tourism Zone concept, then the UK government will work collaboratively with them to ensure a similar support offer to that available in English zones.
Some examples of support on offer to successful bids are likely to include:
- potential access to Be the Business’ benchmarking tool to assess the current productivity and competitiveness of SMEs in the sector. Access to Be the Business’ insights on building collaborative peer networks focused on business improvement and developing leadership and management skills in SMEs, based on learning from a pilot with hospitality businesses in Cornwall
- in addition, potentially working with Be the Business during the development of Tourism Zones to provide expert mentoring to small businesses leaders in the sector, including by potentially contributing experienced business mentors from leading large businesses within each zone where relevant
- working with large tech companies to deliver targeted digital skills training to small and medium enterprises who lack a digital presence
- working with Building Digital UK to provide extra support to Zones to receive full fibre access, if they fall into the ‘final 10%’
- working with the British Tourist Authority to help ensure product and promotion development is supported by the latest market research, including data from the Tourism Data Hub and customer insight data
Tourism Zones will be chosen through a bidding process - run by the British Tourist Authority. Bids should align with Local Industrial Strategies (where relevant), cover a geographical area that can be marketed effectively to the consumer, and not require substantial transport infrastructure investment to facilitate. Government will not stipulate Tourism Zone size - as this should be determined by bidders.
All bids will need to have a Chair and a decision-making board for accountability purposes. Boards must contain representatives from local authorities; Destination Management Organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships (in England). It should also include members from key tourism businesses (attractions, accommodation etc) that will play a major role in delivering the strategy.
Successful bids should be able to demonstrate, in a compelling way, how they are able to overcome the local market failures preventing productivity growth.
We also expect Tourism Zones to share their progress and lessons learnt with other destinations.
Case study - Be the Business Cornwall Peer Network
Be the Business has built a collaborative peer network in Cornwall made up of over 150 small and medium sized businesses within the hospitality sector, where business leaders are coming together to share business ideas and solutions, both in person, as part of masterclasses and networking events, and online via digital platforms.
Business improvement networks facilitate the sharing of best practice between firms that otherwise might not gain exposure to more efficient ways of working.
To date, Be the Business work has shown many small and medium sized firms do not have a peer network with whom they can discuss business development and how to increase productivity.
In Cornwall, members of the hospitality network are identifying common challenges and Be the Business is helping them to mobilise around solving them.
Using action learning sets, businesses are able to find common solutions to their business challenges through questioning in a structured and trusted environment with fellow hospitality business leaders and managers. The purpose of this learning format is to give business leaders refreshed thinking and renewed confidence to go and develop their plans and chart a clear path to improved productivity.
Moreover, Be the Business’ work in Cornwall is developing a deeper understanding of how to engage with a wider audience of hospitality business leaders.
Making travel easier
Visitors and their experiences must remain at the heart of tourism policy.
The government wants to make international travellers’ trips to the UK as easy as possible and ensure that from the moment they book their travel arrangements, visitors have a positive and welcoming experience of the UK.
The vision for the future of crossing the border, and the government’s intentions for the future immigration system more widely, is set out in the ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ white paper published in December 2018, with automation, streamlining and digitisation at the heart of the future strategy, all of which will contribute to improved customer service.
We want to ensure that European tourists can continue to come to the UK in ever increasing numbers. Free movement for EU and EEA citizens is ending, the government is therefore putting in place arrangements to ensure that the experience for EU citizens coming here as visitors is as smooth as possible. The government does not intend to require visitors who are citizens of current EU Member States to obtain a visit visa. Tourists will continue to enjoy a generous entitlement to spend up to 6 months in the UK. Visitors coming to the UK for short-term business reasons will be able, as now, to carry out a wide range of activities, including permitted paid engagements. Under the future system, we intend to introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme which will require visitors and transit passengers who do not normally need a visa to obtain permission prior to travel. This will be a simple online system which is more light-touch than a visa requirement, and an ETA will be valid for multiple entries over an extended period.
Since 2008, ePassport gates have been available to British and EU nationals. EU nationals will remain eligible to use them once the UK leaves the EU. As a result of recent changes, visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States are now able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK and juxtaposed controls11 in a move designed to have transformational impact on their border experience. This change is a prime example of sending the message that the UK is open and welcoming.
For those nationalities who do require a visa to visit the UK, visit visas are already available globally for 6 months, 2, 5 and 10-year validity with multiple entry. Over 99% of all non-settlement visas are processed according to the criteria set out within the Service Standard.
The government is currently engaging with business, employers and other stakeholders across the whole of the UK on the proposals in the white paper. Ministers have already held a meeting with the Tourism Industry Council and further engagement events will take place throughout the year. The Home Office has also launched 5 advisory groups – forums for detailed discussions over 2019 – as the policy, system design and implementation plans are developed. Membership details for each advisory group are published on GOV.UK. Through listening to priorities, concerns and ideas about the future system, the government will ensure that it supports the UK’s dynamic economy, allowing business and employers to have access to the skills and talent they need from around the world, ensuring they can continue to compete on the world stage, whilst supporting higher productivity and wages in the UK and ensuring net migration is reduced to sustainable levels.
In addition, as set out in the Department for Transport’s Aviation 2050 Strategy green paper, the government is also committed to improving service at the border, whilst maintaining the security of the UK, helping to make it smoother for eligible passengers, including tourists, to enter the UK. The government proposes to:
- work with industry to consider a new operating model between government and the aviation industry, enhancing collaboration and considering options to encourage innovation and new technology
- review the current Service Level Agreement and process for passenger waiting times at the border to ensure it is robust, and appropriately balances security and service at the border
- ensure the sustainability of funding services at the border through a new funding model
To improve the productivity of the tourist industry and establish the UK as a global leader by increasing visitor numbers, especially in the shoulder season.
Case study: Celtic Manor
The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, is already a 5-star destination for golf, leisure and business and has been voted the UK’s Best Hotel for 8 of the last 9 years at the Meetings and Incentive Travel Awards. To build on this success, it is now investing significantly in expanding its collection of hotel properties and improving its product offering to draw larger conferences and events to Britain. Most notably, its joint venture partnership with the Welsh Government in the £84 million International Convention Centre Wales will be opening in summer 2019.
The scale of this project has positive implications for the wider region, as the 5000+ delegate capacity is likely to significantly increase overall room occupancy in the area, creating around 1,000 jobs and bringing a projected £70 million per annum into the local economy.
In line with the development of the International Convention Centre, Celtic Manor is investing more than an additional £100 million in ancillary infrastructure and is expanding its accommodation portfolio with the acquisition and building of hotels on and around its 2,000 acre site, taking total spend to around £200 million. It also plans to open a 175-bedroom hotel in Cardiff, broadening its brand presence and expertise into a new location.
The UK is a world leader in hosting international business events. In 2017 we held 592 international association meetings, behind only the USA (941 meetings) and Germany (682 meetings)12.
In 2017, business visits made up almost a quarter of all international visits, accounting for 8.4 million trips, with delegates spending £4.5 billion13.
The UK government’s ambition is to make the UK a more competitive host for these events, with the aim of maintaining our position as a European leader.
To achieve this the UK government is publishing a comprehensive International Business Events Action Plan 2019 - 2025 as part of the Sector Deal. The Action Plan outlines in detail how the UK government will support the business events industry in attracting, growing, creating and retaining international business events. It builds upon the Business Visits and Events Strategy published in 2015 and has been developed in close partnership with the Events Industry Board16.
The Action Plan sets out what support the UK government will provide in relation to the key drivers that event decision makers consider when determining where to host an event:
- UK government advocacy: by offering Ministerial support to accompany bids, Ministerial attendance at events, assistance with bringing in influential speakers and hosting delegations, where appropriate.
- Financial support: by continuing to fund the Business Events Growth Programme run by the British Tourist Authority and exploring whether the size and scope of the fund can grow.
- Destination marketing and promotion: the British Tourist Authority will continue to deliver its Business Events Growth Programme and its core business event support work. This includes destination promotion, financial support and workshops to build capacity and expertise amongst Destination Management Organisations.
- Arrivals and Welcome: The Border Force and UK Visas and immigration will provide a relevant support offer to delegates.
- Capacity and connectivity: UK government will run a new £250,000 scheme to improve broadband connectivity in conference centres, enabling them to receive full fibre access. Details and criteria will be announced later this year. VisitEngland will also undertake research to assess the capacity and availability of venues in England.
- UK government coordination: by providing a single point of contact to coordinate the government’s support offer and setting up a consultative panel of industry leaders.
The Events Industry Board has identified 2 priority areas - skills and infrastructure - which it believes will support government in making the UK more competitive. These priorities are being considered by working groups set up by the Board and they will report later in the year.
Case study: Upcoming Sporting and Cultural Events
The Premier League, Wimbledon and The Ashes all form integral parts of the UK’s identity and visitors often endeavour to include a visit to one of these events in their itinerary. In particular, the Premier League is an extremely powerful global brand and in 2014, more than 800,000 international visitors attended a Premier League football match during their visit to Britain.
The UK is a world leader in hosting major sporting and cultural events. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were highly successful in showing visitors and viewers from across the world that the UK is a must-see destination with a tourism offer that is second to none. The hosting of global sporting events allows visitors to the UK to experience sporting matches where the competition, as well as the infrastructure and experience, are of the very highest global standards. Since 2012, over 90 major international sporting events have been secured for the UK, including 37 World and European Championships. The government is committed to ensuring that we continue to be a world leader in hosting international sporting events, which is exemplified by its role in hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
It’s not only in sporting events we excel - the UK has a strong tradition of hosting other types of cultural events - for example the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which was also hosted in 2012, enabled us to show the world our unique history and heritage.
Over the course of the next 3 years the UK will play host to a number of high-profile events. These include:
- 2019 Cricket World Cup
- 2020 UEFA European Championships
- 2020 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower voyage
- 2021 Rugby League World Cup
- 2021 Coventry City of Culture
- 2021 Women’s Euro Football Championships
- 2022 Commonwealth Games
- 2022 Festival of Britain
The UK government is committed to leveraging the opportunities these major events provide by working with the British Tourist Authority to support host destinations to:
Understand the opportunity - event related vs event motivated visitors: Major events can have the dual effect of attracting visitors to the event itself and acting as a showcase for the wider destination.
Think national: events can make people think differently about the whole country, not just the host venue.
Extend the period of awareness: maximising opportunities before, during and after the event. Our strategy for major events is threefold:
i) pre-event - build relationships with key stakeholders and start brand marketing to build awareness;
ii) during the event – use PR to showcase the destination; and
iii) post event – invest in tactical marketing to drive conversion and deliver the legacy.
By focusing on these areas, the UK government hopes to use events to encourage visitors to enjoy everything that the nation has to offer.
Through the Future of Mobility and Ageing Society Grand Challenges, we want to ensure accessible transport for everyone. 1 in 5 people in the UK has an impairment and those with health conditions, and their travelling companions, are estimated to spend £12 billion on trips in England each year18.
Although this is a significant spend, there are a number of opportunities to grow this figure further. Half a million British adults cited ‘lack of accessibility provision’ as the reason they did not take a domestic trip in the last 12 months19.
In 2016, Britain scored just 25% on its accessibility credentials in the National Brands Index20 and 0.6 million inbound visitors in 2018 had a disability21. The Nation Brands Index suggests that Britain, like its competitors, is not widely recognised for its accessibility (France scores 22% and Germany 27%). The sector will strive to see this figure rise over the next 5 years. The government and industry will work together to make the UK the most accessible destination in Europe by 2025, with a target of increasing the number of inbound visitors with a disability by 33% by 2025. This target will be measured by metrics obtained from the International Passenger Survey. Industry has already developed an extensive collection of best practice and new initiatives. Visit Wales, VisitScotland and VisitEngland all have dedicated web portals providing business advice. However, as a nation we need to make sure this excellent work is being publicised and increasing awareness of existing resources is a key aspect of promoting Britain as an accessible destination. Visit Wales has produced an accessibility film, promoting some of the fantastic accessible attractions available in Wales - including surfing, falconry and steam train trips. More work like this is needed and industry work will include better coordination of accessible itineraries online and increased visibility of people with accessibility issues in the British Tourist Authority’s promotion and marketing campaigns.
Promoting destinations as welcoming and accessible will be a key part of Britain’s brand proposition. The British Tourist Authority will commit to increasing the visibility of people with disabilities and accessible destinations in its imagery and content, with an aim to incorporate accessibility into major ongoing campaigns such as ‘I Travel For…’, in order to leave lasting impressions with potential visitors about the accessible experiences that can be found in Britain. The industry will also facilitate discussions to try to standardise accessibility provisions across the UK and to work collaboratively across destinations.
Making tourist experiences more accessible will have a wider impact - benefiting groups such as parents with prams and the elderly too. Visitors over 55 spent £2.3 billion in the UK in 2017 and with an ageing global population it is a key market for businesses to target in the future22.
Case study: National Trust
The National Trust has been working to improve accessibility to its places for a number of years in order to ensure that all visitors are able to enjoy their time visiting National Trust properties and locations.
The Trust has made improvements to the presentation and content of their accessibility information, ensuring visitors can feel confident about the facilities available when choosing a property to visit. In addition to these improvements, the Trust continues its long-standing commitment to people with disabilities, allowing them to bring a companion or carer free of charge.
Development of on-site facilities has been a priority, with a revision of design standards to include facilities such as Changing Places across their estate, and the expansion of accessible accommodation. The Trust has also implemented access audit reviews, and participates in England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group, to routinely identify where additional improvements need to be made.
Case study: Titanic Belfast
The Titanic Belfast attraction has been recognised as one of Britain’s 20 most accessible attractions following its proactive approach to accessibility for both guests and employees.
As well as having fully accessible exhibition, banqueting and external plaza facilities, Titanic Belfast have worked to improve transport to the venue via the full accessible Belfast Glider bus service and accessible parking spaces. Free carer entry and on-site wheelchairs are also available.
Optimising the visitor experience to ensure everyone can engage with Belfast’s Maritime heritage has been a key part of Titanic Belfast’s accessibility strategy. In addition to the multimedia audio guides available for guests with hearing loss and visual impairments, the experience uses bright lights, sound effects, contrasting text on panels, narration, and tactile areas to make the attraction as immersive as possible.
Working with organisations such as AutismNI, Titanic Belfast has implemented a number of autism friendly features such as improved pre-visit information, autism friendly sessions, quiet spaces in galleries, and ear defenders – winning them an Autism Impact Champion award.
Titanic Belfast’s recruitment and staff training strategies hold accessibility as key tenets and the attraction is working to reach out into the local community to invite groups of all ages and abilities to experience the story of the Titanic.
The British Tourist Authority has agreed to produce a new consumer web page, providing inbound visitors with disabilities information and itinerary suggestions that will aim to enable everyone to travel in the UK as independently as possible. This will make visitors trips to the UK easier, meaning that they feel assured and confident that the attractions, transport, and accommodation providers have the necessary facilities to meet their individual needs.
The British Tourist Authority will provide further business support to small and medium enterprises to encourage all organisations to consider whether their offer can be enjoyed by everyone. Additionally, government and industry will explore even more ways to work together to increase access and participation for all.
The government will convene a UK conference on Accessibility Tourism, with key government officials, the Department for Work and Pensions accessibility sector leads, major charities and tourism stakeholders.
The conference agenda will include best practice sharing, how to prioritise making business changes and potential economic and social impact.
Case study: Wadworth Pubs – Dementia Friend Initiative
45% of international visits include at least one visit to a pub and pubs are key to our international offer. Wadworth, the independent family brewer and regional pub operator based in Devizes in Wiltshire has engaged with the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends campaign with its brewery and south west pubs attending Dementia Friend sessions. 43 people working in and running their Wadworth pubs have so far attended the sessions with more to come. The sessions are being organised by Wadworth to ensure that people with dementia and their carers can enjoy their visits to a Wadworth pub and know their needs are better understood.
A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action — anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Those attending the Dementia Friend sessions learn more about dementia and the small ways they can help. The Wadworth face-to- face sessions are being run by Wadworth’s own Dementia Friend’s Champion, Marie Wood who also looks after the brewery’s training and development programme.
To ensure the tourism sector can support the government’s ambition to deliver a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure.
In addition to making it easy to travel to the UK, it is essential that it is easy for visitors to move around the country easily. This is particularly important to the UK as 46% of international visitors are nervous about driving here24, in particular because we drive on the left-hand side. Therefore, a range of alternative public transport options are needed and the government is committed to improving the passenger experience in the aviation, maritime and rail sectors in both the short and long term.
The Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy lays out the principles by which the UK will support advances in data science, artificial intelligence and sensing technology to increase the speed of transport innovation. Cleaner transport, automation, new business models and new modes of travel promise to transform how people, goods and services move.
The Department for Transport is developing an Aviation Strategy - Aviation 2050 - setting out the government’s long term vision for aviation to 2050 and beyond, which is of particular importance to tourism.
We are proposing a new industry wide Passenger Charter that will seek to increase awareness of consumer rights standards across aviation, improve passenger services and promote best practice in the aviation sector.
As an important part of the government’s long-term Aviation Strategy, we are proposing a new industry wide Passenger Charter that will seek to increase awareness of consumer rights standards across aviation, improve passenger services and promote best practice in the aviation sector.
The government is currently consulting on measures to improve the flying experience for all passengers as part of the wider Aviation 2050 Strategy.
The government believes that forecasted aviation demands up to 2030 can be met through a Northwest runway at Heathrow and by Airports beyond Heathrow making best use of their existing runways, subject to environmental issues being addressed. To ensure additional growth is sustainable and delivers the full benefits for the consumer and industry while minimising the impacts on local communities, the government proposes to work in partnership with the industry to deliver on a number of policy areas being developed as part of the Aviation Strategy 2050 consultation document.
The government recognises that airports are in a unique position to be transport and ticketing information hubs. Indeed, many airports are already developing digital and face to face facilities that will make onward journeys more straight forward for passengers. Integrated ticketing can refer to a ticket for the whole journey or encompass multiple tickets, and the government encourages airports to lead in the development of integrating service offerings with surface transport providers.
The cruise sector in the UK has almost doubled since 2006 with nearly 2 million people taking a cruise which started or ended in the UK in 201625. The Department for Transport has launched the Maritime Strategy for 2050, to maximise our strength in maritime services, lead the way in clean maritime growth and strengthen our maritime reputation. The strategy framework will inform government policy development and industry decision making for the future, as well as giving even greater confidence to potential investors in the UK economy.
One specific recommendation in Maritime 2050 states that the government will continue to engage with the cruise and ferry sectors. A series of thematic route-maps will be launched throughout 2019, which will help the government to identify and implement appropriate activities to support the long-term vision.
The Department for Transport is undertaking a range of initiatives that will enhance the passenger experience on the UK’s rail network. The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge is paving the way for a cleaner, greener future transport system. A number of these will benefit international visitors:
- the department has agreed with Govia Thameslink Railway to extend pay-as-you-go travel to Luton Airport. Transport for London’s contactless bankcard system will be available later this year. This follows the extension of pay-as-you-go to Gatwick Airport
- in early 2019 the department consulted on an approach to expand pay-as-you-go ticketing more widely and on proposals for a wider pay-as-you-go area in the south east of England, including London Stansted and London Southend airports
- the department is considering a possible Southern Rail Link to Heathrow, including working to further develop the scheme objectives and commercial model options
- by 2022, there will be earlier and later connections from stations south of Newcastle to Newcastle Airport - up to 40 minutes earlier and later than now
- the department is investing £300 million in improvements on the Brighton Main Line, a key route to Gatwick Airport. This will reduce delay hotspots and boost reliability of rail in the south east
Case study: Liverpool
The Liverpool City Region, in collaboration with major private sector partners - including Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Merseyrail and Liverpool ONE are developing a seamless journey from any entry point into Liverpool and the wider City Region, including its many attractions. By improving the accessibility, and facilitating the easy dispersal of visitors from transport links to attractions, the city will become even more welcoming to both visitors and residents travelling within the city, and underpin the Liverpool City Region’s growing tourist market.
In addition, Liverpool John Lennon Airport introduced accessibility training in 2015, to assist passengers with conditions such as autism or dementia through the check-in and boarding process, and in the future, there is an aspiration to provide this training across other transport modes in the Liverpool City Region. Looking to the rail network, 2020 will see the beginning of a multi-million pound infrastructure investment in replacing rolling stock, which will provide step-free access across the Liverpool City Region rail network. These projects will complement the seamless visitor journey.
The government will continue to work with the British Tourist Authority and the Rail Delivery Group to shape the rail agenda in relation to tourism. In 2018, the British Tourist Authority focused the rail activity on the trade site with the introduction of the rail hub. The rail hub showcases the rail content, including rail videos, imagery, itineraries and brochures. A number of campaigns involved a focus on rail, with both Cox & Kings India and Travel Leaders Network USA promoting rail as an enabler to travel around Britain. Cox & Kings India created a rail video for broadcast, which reached nearly 8 million consumers in India.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) owns the BritRail pass which provides access to all trains on Britain’s National Rail Network. BritRail sales have seen strong growth year on year, with £11.8 million sales in 2018, an increase of 8.9% from 2017.
The RDG were also a successful recipient of a round one Discover England Fund bid, which has enabled them to develop the M–Pass (mobile) for their BritRail England Pass. This was the first nationally available barcoded rail ticket. The BritRail M-Pass sales exceeded expectation reaching 3,000 sales by March 2018, well ahead of forecast. This will be extended to cover all Britain from summer 2019 and will allow visitors to purchase their ticket right up until the day they travel. The government is also supporting local areas creating their own partnerships with transport providers.
The Great West Way Discoverer Pass has been developed as part of a Discover England Fund project, which makes travelling this route easier for visitors. It includes unlimited off-peak train travel from London Paddington / Waterloo along the route to Bristol Temple Meads via Reading and / or Basingstoke routes with options to branch off towards Oxford and Kemble. It also includes unlimited travel on the bus services along the route. Visitors (both domestic and international) can choose from a one-day, three-day, or week-long ticket.
Investment in accommodation
In 2018, the UK saw £6.8 billion investment in hotels, a third of all the hotel investment in the European market26. This injection of investment is happening at all leveIs of the sector and it is estimated that 51% of the 45,000 hotels are independently owned27. These independently owned hotels are predominantly SME operations.
In addition, national hotel brands are expanding their own portfolios across the UK. For example, Whitbread Capital Markets report highlights long-term growth to a 110,000 room network – creating between 1,000-2,000 UK jobs a year. InterContinental Hotels Group is also investing in the UK, making it the largest luxury hotel operator with more than 2,000 rooms in the UK.
The sector has committed to building an additional 130,000 rooms across the UK by 2025, which is equivalent to 21% of the current bedroom stock being added. London has an additional 30,000 rooms in the pipeline, equalling 23% of its current bedroom supply. However, this expansion in accommodation will occur in all areas of the UK, with 75% of all new bedroom stock being built outside the capital.
The strength of inbound tourism helps shape the interest levels of investors and the change in the nature of where investors’ money is coming from reflects the vitality and resilience of the UK’s inbound tourism market.
Investment in attractions
We have seen with Diageo’s £150 million investment in the whiskey experience in Scotland and the Turner Contemporary in Margate, tourism investment can be transformative for a destination, drive regeneration and improve the quality of life for local communities. The major investment in global tourism attractions is a huge vote of confidence in the UK tourism sector. For example, £1.5 billion is being invested in brewing and pubs per annum across the UK alone.
Visiting our heritage is the number one reason international visitors chose the UK as a location to visit. The UK’s unique culture and heritage attracts £4.5 billion worth of spending by inbound visitors annually, more than quarter of all spending by international visitors. The government is investing in a number of projects across these areas to provide world class attractions for visitors. This includes contributing £4 million to a new exhibition space at Jodrell Bank, near Manchester, to celebrate its world-leading place in the history of astronomy and £7.2 million to conduct urgent conservation works at Wentworth Woodhouse, a country house in Yorkshire, with the long term aim to turn it into a visitor attraction.
Britain’s coastal and seaside attractions are popular with domestic visitors, with 35% of Brits holidaying at an English seaside destination in 2017 – totalling 16.7 million holidays. One-in-ten inbound visitors to the UK visit the coast or beaches (3.8 million).
Natural England is developing our coastal offer by investing £25.6 million between 2015 and 2020 to create the England Coastal path which, when complete, will be the longest coastal path in the world.
Covering nearly 25% of England, England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are pivotal to our tourism offer by helping to disperse tourism across the country and attract international visitors. For the first time, through the Discover England Fund, 9 of England’s 10 National Parks have worked together and with local businesses, to curate a collection of experiences that tell the story of our landscapes and their people. The English National Park Experience Collection offers a range of visitor experiences all of which are new for 2019.
This outdoor offer is further enhanced by the UK’s wealth of gardens and in the years between 2006 and 2017, around a third of all inbound visits included a visit to a park or garden which amounted to £2.2 billion of tourism spend28. This popularity is demonstrated by 3 paid garden attractions appearing in the top 20 most visited sites across the UK in 2017. These are the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey and the Eden Project in Cornwall.
The UK is the gardening capital of the world, and given the history and attractiveness of our gardens and parks, and the size of its contribution to the economy, images of them should be used more extensively by the British Tourist Authority in marketing campaigns to attract international visitors and to encourage domestic holidays to all corners of the UK. This focus on gardens and landscapes complements the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan which seeks to encourage more people to spend time in the natural environment.
International visits to the UK’s leading museums have almost doubled in the past decade, with 48% of international holiday visits within England and 55% in London including a visit to a museum. 1 in 4 visit an art gallery29. The government’s policy of free entry to national museums (replicated by many local authorities and independent museums) has been a significant driver in increasing visitor numbers, as have the many partnership arrangements and loans which enable objects to travel the UK attracting large audiences. UK museums play a key role in driving economic growth through tourism.
Arts Council England invests in attractions across England, which will draw both domestic and international tourists. These range from the Hall for Cornwall, a theatre which will be redesigned to include 300 more seats, bars and cafes, and a creative digital hub due to be completed in 2020; to the recently opened Yorkshire Sculpture Park visitor centre – the Weston - which cements West Yorkshire as a visual arts destination.
Case study: Film and TV tourism
The UK’s suite of creative tax reliefs are among the most competitive in the world, with government investing £469 million in 2018 through the film tax relief alone — a 23% increase year on year.
This has helped enable strong growth in the sector and in recent years the UK has produced a number of films and TV programmes with a strong sense of the UK’s culture, such as The Crown, Paddington, and Poldark.
This has a direct benefit to the UK’s soft power internationally as well as inbound tourism. Significant investment is being made by the industry to use these iconic locations as tourist destinations, for example HBO (in collaboration with Linen Mill Studios) are building a new 110,000 sqft interactive experience based on the Game of Thrones TV Series. It is due to open in Spring 2020. In April 2019 Warner Bros. opened the 16,500 sqft Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion of its Harry Potter Studio Tour, its biggest addition to date.
Case study: Langdale Estate
Cumbria’s Langdale Resort has seen significant investment in its accommodation, restaurant, fitness, and leisure facilities. Over the last 8 years £15 million of investment has transformed the business and enabled new product creation, such as the spa, to encourage year-round visitors to enjoy the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A further £1.2 million is expected to be invested annually.
The resort supports 250 staff, many of whom are provided with on-site accommodation and welfare facilities which continually expands and improves as the workforce grows.
Case study: RHS Bridgewater Garden
The RHS Bridgewater Garden development is one of the largest gardening projects currently underway in Europe. The organisation hopes to restore the 156-acre Worsley Hall Estate gardens, on the site of the now-demolished Worsley New Hall near Salford, Greater Manchester, into a public site. Phase 1 plans for the site - which received planning permission in 2017 and aims to open in 2020 - include recreating historic features such as the tree-lined Garden Approach and the Terraces that used to stand between the Lake and the former site of the New Hall.
New site developments will provide visitors with a therapeutic garden and a welcome building with café, shop, plants centre and events and learning spaces.
The development will also bring significant benefits to the local community. The RHS has committed to a local investment of £30 million, which hopes to bring an annual return of £13.8 million to the local economy by 2029. In addition, the project will create jobs both in the garden itself and in the wider community, with volunteering, training, and apprenticeship opportunities for local people to develop skills.
To increase the sector’s capacity to innovate by accelerating the development and commercialisation of digital technology and reducing barriers in the sector.
Tourism has been at the heart of technological innovation. From booking flights online to the sharing economy, to social media’s role at the heart of inspiration and information sharing, tourism has been one of the focuses of the technological revolution. The world’s first ‘app’ was developed by Orange for the Edinburgh Festival, and Skyscanner, a multi-billion-pound company was founded in the early 2000s and is based in Scotland.
Technology and digital connectivity are rapidly changing the way people travel and how audiences interact with the world around them. It is estimated that 85% of inbound visitors to the UK book their travel online30 and 56% use location technology to find attractions whilst on holiday31. The government sees this change in booking holidays as an opportunity to understand visitor’s motivations and habits in new and innovative way.
We can achieve this by unlocking the vast amount of information online travel agents, transport, accommodation and experience vendors hold.
As part of our AI and Data Grand Challenge the UK will transform the way tourism analytics and data is used through the creation of a new independent Tourism Data Hub. It will help us understand visitors’ preferences for location, activities and products in real time unlike consumer insights research and marketing focus grouping. Uniquely, for the first time the sector will also be able to examine tourists who search for the UK as a holiday destination but ultimately choose a different location. This information will help the UK understand the gaps in its market and allow us to develop the right tourism products to maximise visitor numbers. The information will help optimise marketing activities and understand, in finer detail, the regional and seasonal spread of visitors. Such data will also prove hugely useful in informing overseas marketing campaigns, such as the GREAT Campaign, the government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever, which unites the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain.
The hub will serve as the intermediary between large organisations that hold useful data, and SMEs that will be able to use this data to drive tourism growth across the regions and nations of the UK.
The British Tourist Authority, in line with its statutory duty to provide research and insights advice to the tourism industry, will host the Tourism Data Hub. The British Tourist Authority has the expertise to collate and interpret this data and will communicate its findings to the wider sector.
To date a number of organisations have already agreed in principle to working with the British Tourist Authority on developing this idea. These businesses include Airbnb, Barclays, BT, Expedia, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group and TripAdvisor. The British Tourist Authority will seek to grow the Hub further; getting more businesses involved.
Tourism Exchange Great Britain
Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB) has been developed by the British Tourist Authority in response to the market failure gap within the fragmented tourism distribution landscape. Created in partnership with V3 and Rainmaker, TXGB is an online business-to-business platform which connects tourism suppliers to global distributors. It enables tourism suppliers to promote their products to an international audience, and offers distributors real-time access to a wider range of accommodation, tours, attractions, events and transport options, than would otherwise be unavailable to them. TXGB has been funded by the Discover England Fund and, as such, is being implemented for the English tourism industry, but has the capability to be extended to serve the UK tourism industry as a whole.
TXGB goes live in the Summer 2019, with supplier and distributor sign up taking place from that time.
Primary Authority enables businesses to form a legal partnership with one local authority, which then provides assured and tailored advice on complying with environmental health, trading standards and fire safety regulations that other local regulators must respect. Partnerships can be formed with one business or with groups of businesses, such as trade associations.
Primary Authority has a significant role in the Better Business for All programme which supports the simplification of the way regulation is delivered in local areas. Local Better Business for All partnerships bring together businesses and regulators to identify the issues facing local businesses and shape the provision of effective support services to them.
The UK government have provided £40,000 to the Tourism Alliance in England to carry out further research on how, where and why businesses within the sector obtain advice on compliance, which will inform the shape of further advisory services including Primary Authority. The outcome of this will provide businesses with greater clarity on regulatory issues and in turn reduce some administrative time and costs for hospitality businesses.
|June 2019||Tourism Sector Deal launched|
|June 2019||The UK government’s International Business Events Action Plan launched|
|August 2019||Competition for improved broadband at conference centres|
|December 2019||Tourism Zone details published, with applications open|
|March 2020||Announcement of successful Tourism Zones|
|Summer 2020||Annual Review of the Sector Deal including considering further measures as appropriate|
The Sector Deal’s success is dependent on a number of different bodies working in close partnership. Steve Ridgway, Chair of the British Tourist Authority who has been responsible for leading the development of the Sector Deal will continue to report on progress to the Tourism Industry Council.
The British Tourist Authority will project manage the Sector Deal’s implementation, working with the devolved governments, businesses and trade associations. They will work in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who will lead on cross-government delivery.
Delivery of Tourism Zones and the Tourism Data Hub will be undertaken by the British Tourist Authority. The delivery of these 2 new projects will require the creation of new partnerships between, amongst others, the private sector, Destination Management Organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, a sub-group of the Tourism Industry Council, will be established. It will work closely with industry stakeholders and oversee the delivery of key commitments on the skills and workforce aspects of the deal. This Board will be managed jointly by UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association.
Finally, the Events Industry Board will be responsible for overseeing the commitments made in the UK government’s International Business Events Action Plan and their implementation. While this Board is independent of the Tourism Industry Council, the Chair of the Events Industry Board sits on the Council and will update it regularly on progress.
Once the Sector Deal enters the implementation phase, the British Tourist Authority will work with the Tourism Industry Council, government and other key partners in order to publish an annual report on progress.
Business Visits and Events Strategy (2015) and in the forthcoming UK government’s International Business Events Action Plan (2019-2025). It is an industry-led board composed of individuals and representative organisations from the events industry; the Board looks for ways to improve and promote the UK events sector and acts as a sounding board and point of dialogue between Ministers and the industry.
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