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Tourism Alliance – Update

In this update…25th May 2023

  • Short-term lets registration & planning consultations end soon
  • Westminster Hall debate on holiday lets and planning
  • Tourism Alliance AGM on 7th June – register now
  • BTA review underway
  • Tourism Education and Skills group – first meeting

Short-term lets registration & planning consultations end soon

A brief reminder that two important consultations close on Wednesday 7th June:

Introduction of a use class for short term lets and associated permitted development rights

Westminster Hall debate on holiday lets and planning

Kevin Foster MP (Cons, Torbay) held a Westminster Hall debate on holiday lets and planning this week. This was very much along the same lines as the policy consultation that is currently live. A number of MPs from across parties took part in the debate, and it is worthwhile colleagues reading the Hansard or watching the debate on to get a sense of the issues being raised by MPs.

There was clear frustration on behalf of constituents who are struggling to find houses in key tourism destinations, or who have been evicted in order to convert properties to short-term lets. Some MPs urged the Government to go further than currently being proposed in the consultation. This included MPs who have been and continue to be very supportive of the tourism sector.

We are still finalising our response to the consultation on a new use class for short-term lets, but a few things are clear:

  • We recognise there are problems in some localised areas, but the major reason is becuase of a lack of house building rather than because of tourism acomodation.
  • There is no understanding of how local authorities may use the powers suggested in the consultation and therefore the impact on tourism accomodation, and the knock-on effect on the wider tourism economy, cannot be estimated.


That any change must be based on evidence, and the best source of evidence will be the data from the statutory registration scheme which we fully support. It must be sequenced in this way so that local authorities have the data they need to make planning decisions based on evidence.

Tourism Alliance AGM on 7th June – register now.

The Tourism Alliance Annual General Meeting will take place on:

  • Wednesday 7th June
  • 1100-1230
  • At the offices of ABTA, 30 Park St, London SE1 9EQ (near Borough Market, London Bridge)

This will be an opportunity to review the activity of the Tourism Alliance over the past 12 months, meet the new and continuing Board Members and Executive, ask questions, review the accounts and provide oversight for your organisation.

We will also be joined by the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, lately Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, former Deputy Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Minister. Damian currently serves as a member of the DCMS Select Committee and will give us some political and policy insights as we head towards a likely general election next year.

All members are welcome to attend. We need one delegate per member organisation, but you’re welcome to bring others as observers. However, all must register in advance. Please click the button below to secure your space.

Register for the AGM now

Download the AGM 2023 agenda

BTA review underway

DCMS announced that a review of the British Tourist Authority (the legal entity behind VisitBritain/VisitEngland) is underway being conducted by Emir Feisal, Non-Executive Director at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

The review is looking at how the operator of national tourist boards VisitEngland and VisitBritain support places across Great Britain to develop and market high-quality tourist offerings, create jobs in the sector and boost the economy.

The Tourism Minister, Sir John Whittingdale MP, said:

“Tourism showcases the best that Britain has to offer, our rich culture, heritage and natural beauty. It accounts for over four million jobs across the UK and remains a strong driver of growth, contributing hundreds of billions of pounds to the economy every year.

“As tourism continues to recover after the pandemic, it is only right that there is an independent health check of the British Tourist Authority to recognise areas of success and where we can improve to realise the industry’s full potential”

Tourism Education and Skills group – first meeting

The first meeting of a new Tourism Education & Skills group, convened by ABTA, took place this week. Thank you for everyone else who expressed an interested in joining going forward. We will be expanding the group to include others for the next meeting and beyond.

The group was established in response to the Department for Education’s update on its review of post-16 qualifications.

The first meeting was used to clarify concerns raised about the future of tourism qualifications at level 3 in recent weeks, understand what the prospects are for further education in travel and tourism in England and agree next steps.

It established that:

  • There appears to be an opportunity to develop new non-A level travel and tourism qualifications from 2026, and that the industry has the opportunity to shape the content of these courses.
  • The announcement by City and Guilds that it will no longer provide further education travel and tourism courses is unrelated to the Government review. Other providers still plan to offer courses.
  • The group is developing a fact sheet which summarises the situation to provide clarity to industry and education providers.

Vicki Wolf, Head of Education and Career Development at ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“The last few weeks have created a lot of uncertainty for further education students, lecturers and colleges, as well as travel and tourism employers. It was good to get a better understanding of the full circumstances and what happens next. While there are still areas that need clarification from the Government, it appears that there will be route for future further education courses specific to travel and tourism. They are vital in preparing young people for a career in this amazing sector.”

Claire Steiner, Chair of the Institute of Travel and Tourism’s Education and Training Committee said:

“What was really encouraging from this week’s meeting was the energy and enthusiasm from everyone involved. While the circumstances are far from ideal – there seems to be a good opportunity to shape the courses to suit our sector’s future needs. It’s good that industry, associations and education providers can work together as part of this new group to do just that.”

John Garside, Lecturer in Aviation and Travel & Tourism at Birmingham Metropolitan College said:

“It was really great to get together with the group to unpick what is happening with further education. We discussed the importance of making sure there are vocational qualifications available in travel and tourism for those young people who don’t want to do A levels but wish to continue with education to set themselves up for a career in the travel industry or go onto higher education. It seems that there could be a potential route to do that, and a great opportunity for education and employers to shape the content of future courses. I look forward to being part of that.”
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