In this update: Less than three weeks to go to English Tourism Week All eyes…
In this update:
- CMS Committee questions ministers on tax-free shopping and other tourism issues
- First Tourism Industry Council meeting of 2024
- Accessibility and Inclusion toolkit webinar
- ‘Pitching The Value’ Report
CMS Committee questions ministers on tax-free shopping and other tourism issues
On Tuesday this week the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee conducted a robust evidence session with three ministers: Julia Lopez MP (Tourism Minister, DCMS), Nigel Huddleston MP (Financial Secretary, Treasury) and Tom Pursglove MP (Immigration Minister, Home Office).
This was part of the Committee’s follow-up into its inquiry into “Promoting Britain Abroad.” The Committee covered a large number of important topics including:
- Tax-free shopping
- VisitBritain’s international marketing budget
- Visa fees
- ETA cost and competitiveness
- Employment and youth mobility
- Youth group travel
- DDPs and LVEP roll-out
There were a few stand-out points. Firstly, Nigel Huddleston poured quite a lot of cold water on our hopes around tax-free shopping. The Sunday Times had reported at the weekend some positive news about the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) having been asked by the Treasury to look into this policy. Huddleston was clear that the OBR has undertaken this analysis on its own initiative and went on at length about the difficulty the Treasury sees in bringing back VAT RES. This was reiterated by Julia Lopez at a subsequent Tourism Industry Council (see below) where she was keen to ‘set expectations’. So the work to persuade the Treasury of the merits of VAT RES and the damage being done by its abolition certainly continues.
First Tourism Industry Council meeting of 2024
This week we took part in the first TIC meeting of the year, which was partly an opportunity to look forward to opportunities and policy challenges facing the sector in 2024.
In our intro comments we raised:
- Tax-free shopping (see above)
- Statutory Registration for Short-Term Lets (the Minister assured us we should see some announcements soon)
- ETA roll-out to all non-visa nationals and the tweaks we want to see
- EES and ETIAS for outbound travel to Europe
- The challenge of Government contracts taking accommodation stock out of tourism use
Accessibility and Inclusion toolkit webinar
We were pleased to host a webinar alongside VisitEngland on Monday on their new Accessibility and Inclusion toolkit.
Explore the Toolkit now in VisitEngland’s free Business Advice Hub, including downloadable top 20 tips, practical action checklists and technical guidance for the built environment.
‘Pitching The Value’ Report
A new ‘Pitching the Value’ report was released this week by the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA) highlighting the economic value and wellbeing impact of the UK holiday parks and campsites sector and its important contribution to UK domestic tourism.
Headline statistics from the ‘Pitching the Value’ economic benefit report 2024 record that the sector:
- Generates £12.2bn in visitor expenditure equating to £7.2bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy
- Supports 226,745 full time jobs across the UK
- Attracts a touring visitor and holiday caravan owner average spend of just over £100 per day (on-site and off-site)
- Welcomes visitors to UK holiday parks and campsites who stay 82% longer and spend 12% more than the national tourism average
Despite the challenges businesses have faced in the past few years such as Brexit, the Covid pandemic and more recently the cost-of-living crisis, the latest UKCCA report demonstrates the holiday park and campsite sector is resilient and continues to make a significant contribution to the UK economy.
Both Parliament and the Tourism Alliance are on recess next week for half-term, so there will be no usual Thursday update. Normal service will resume the week after.