Despite Brexit and the process of electing a new Prime Minister, the Government does seem to be getting some useful business done, although perhaps a bit under the radar. An example is the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, announced by the recently ex-PM Theresa May.
The new deal will revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of a new Tourism Data Hub. The hub will collate regularly updated data showing the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors. The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the economy. This is predicted to increase by nine million visitors in the coming years. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand.
The deal also outlines the Government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country.
“Ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity “
Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.
“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and break down barriers for visitors with disabilities.
“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”
Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, added: “Today we have set out our vision for the future of UK tourism – a commitment to an industry that is vital for the prosperity of our communities, our businesses and our economy.
“The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”
” Building a world-class experience economy”
Business Secretary, Greg Clark, concluded: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23 billion pounds spent by visitors in the UK last year.
“As part of today’s ground-breaking deal, new Tourism Zones will deliver a direct boost to holiday destinations across the country, helping create new jobs as well as supporting improvements in transport connections.
“This is one of the many ways in which the deal will be key in building a world-class experience economy, helping us deliver on the ambition we set out in our modern Industrial Strategy; Government and industry working hand-in-hand to build on our exceptional strengths in this sector, boosting productivity and further increasing the UK’s attractiveness as a holiday destination.”
Details of the deal
The commitments in the deal include:
- More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London.
- £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conference centres across the UK for business visitors.
- Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy.
- 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes.
- A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors.
Developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Industry, the sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.
Tourism, is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, this could be a game changing step to underpin the success of tourism for the future, ensuring it is a leading industry for the UK’s economic planning.
It will also have a major impact on the economy, growing the value of the industry and employment in tourism, together with fixing issues with skills and productivity. The aim is to extend the season to year-round, building stronger destinations across the country and developing world-class experiences for home and international visitors.
Tourism is one of the most fiercely competitive global industries and the deal ensures we can continue to compete internationally as a top destination for visitors, helping to drive economic growth across the UK.
VisitEngland B2B platform
Additionally I have noted that VisitEngland has launched a business-to-business digital platform that enables tourism suppliers to connect to multiple international distributors. Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB) will be a ‘one-stop shop for English tourism suppliers including accommodation providers, visitor attractions and experiences, to link to distributors with international reach and sell their products overseas’.
TXGB was developed as part of the UK Government’s ‘Discover England Fund’, which was administered by VisitEngland, to support the tourism industry develop world-class bookable English tourism products. VisitEngland hope that TXGB will drive bookings for the hundreds of thousands of tourism businesses in England by making it easier for them to access new markets and ultimately more customers.
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