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Tourism Recovery Plan

Please see below links to a copy of the Tourism Recovery Plan that has just been published, along with a copy of supporting research on tourism recovery scenarios by Oxford Economics.

Having read through the Tourism Recovery Plan, it contains a very good analysis of the importance of tourism to the local and national economies and is extremely comprehensive in pulling together all the initiatives and funding measures that the Government has introduced that support the industry.

The twin targets of the Recovery Plan are to rebuild domestic back to 2019 levels by 2022 and to rebuild inbound tourism back to 2019 levels by 2023 – both of these are one year ahead of Oxford Economic’s forecasts. However, there is surprising little in the way of new announcements supporting these targets.

The main new initiatives are:

  • A New Rail Pass

“Working with the Rail Delivery Group, the government and VisitBritain will pursue the development of a new domestic rail tourism product to accelerate the recovery of domestic tourism. Introducing an offer for domestic tourists will encourage sustainable domestic holiday travel and reduce tourism’s reliance on cars. It would build on the success of rail tourism products such as the BritRail pass, which is sold through the VisitBritain Shop and provides international visitors with flexible travel across the network to spread the benefits of tourism across the country, as well as provide discounted attraction entry. The aim is to launch this new domestic rail tourism product later in the year, subject to a successful business case being developed”

  • £10m of Tourism Vouchers

“The British Tourist Authority will deliver a £10 million consumer promotion with The National Lottery to support the domestic tourist industry. The initiative will see vouchers, or similar, made available to National Lottery players that will be redeemable at tourist attractions across the UK. The scheme will open in Autumn 2021 to encourage off-season trips in support of the hard-hit domestic tourism sector. Businesses taking part will need to ensure they are using the We’re Good To Go industry standard. More information will be made available later in the year”

  • Consultation on Statutory Registration

“The government will also launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. A Registration Scheme is one potential route through which to create a data-driven approach, creating an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub. Any such scheme could encompass the breadth of the sector, from ‘traditional’ accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs to short term lets in the sharing economy and could be used to underpin future government interventions, for example regarding the regulation of the sharing economy. The rise of the sharing economy has and will continue to play an important role in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the UK economy. However, it has created concerns about uneven regulatory requirements and negative impacts on local communities compared to other types of accommodation. The government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector or risking a reduction in supply.”

  • Sustainable Tourism Plan

“The government will develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan, and put the UK at the forefront of the global discussion on sustainable travel. Domestically, the government will work with industry and the British Tourist Authority to identify achievable ways for the sector to ‘grow back greener’, in ways that will reduce the travel industry’s impact on the natural and built environment, respect local host communities and take their needs into account, and maximise the economic benefits for tourism businesses and their local communities in all regions of the UK. VisitBritain/VisitEngland are working with the tourism sector to celebrate and amplify best practice, and to coordinate an industry response that promotes the UK as a leader in sustainable tourism and puts the UK’s natural landscapes and communities at the heart of the country’s brand proposition.”

  • Inclusivity Roundtables and Ambassador

“The Minister for Tourism will hold a series of roundtables with stakeholders from across the tourism industry to better understand the barriers holding back participation in tourism. These roundtables will be themed around issues such as guest accommodation, transportation, attractions, working with customers and skills. The aim is to establish a clear baseline of where the UK is in terms of inclusive tourism, and to come up with a series of concrete actions that the government can pursue to make a meaningful difference, above and beyond existing activity. 

Later this year, the government’s intention is to recruit a new disability and access ambassador for tourism. The selected individual will promote best practice, help identify ongoing barriers and contribute to strategic thinking around how to improve accessibility in the sector.”

  • Ministerial Advocacy For Business Events

“The UK government will also enhance its Ministerial advocacy programme. The Events Industry Board notes that advocacy is critical to winning international business events. As such, UK government Ministers will commit to delivering keynote speeches on a regular basis at international business events held in the UK. The government will also work with GREAT and VisitBritain to designate sector-specific UK-wide events ambassadors, who will promote the UK as a location for, and advocate for, events in key industries and sectors. These ambassadors will be pre-eminent and high profile in their field, helping the UK win, grow or retain events that showcase the UK on a global stage and drive growth in strategically important industries. To drive forward these commitments, the government has created a cross-Whitehall group of senior officials in key government departments with an interest in growth and business events. This group will be tasked with developing a target list of international business events for the government to focus on bringing to – and retaining in – the UK, and developing a plan to host them here.”

It will also:

    • Produce a strategy for sustainable business events, including a blueprint for how to hold more sustainable, low carbon international business events
    • Assess gaps in business events venue provision, both in terms of regional ‘cold spots’ and whether the UK has the right variety of venues to support its international competitiveness in hosting 21st century business events.
    • Identify the skills and capacity gaps that have emerged as a result of both the pandemic’s impact on the workforce, and of structural changes to the industry.

To implement that Recovery Plan, a new inter-Ministerial group for Tourism is being established. It will be chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and supported by the Minister for Tourism.

The group will meet four times a year and will ensure the plan is delivered. Two new cross-government working groups of lead officials will also be set up underneath this, meeting more regularly and ensuring rapid, effective progress – one to lead on business events, and the other on the tourism sector more broadly. The government will also provide the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee with an annual update on the progress of the plan and the tourism industry more generally as it recovers, with the first update in 2022.
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