Last 4th March the UK Government launched its New Tourism Policy, an action plan to help the British tourism industry setting out blueprint to grow the sector and creating new jobs. In Great Britain the 200,000 businesses in the tourism industry directly provide £52bn of GDP, 4.4% of British jobs, and have made tourism one of the fastest growing sectors in UK.
According to the last Eurostat Tourism Statistics (2008 data), The United Kingdom is at the 5th place, among the Eu27, in the highest international tourism receipts list, and the second one among the biggest spenders in terms of international travel classification. In August 2010, David Cameron gave a speech about tourism at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. It was, he said, a speech he wanted to give rather than one he had to, because the industry is an often overlooked giant within the UK economy. Devoting an entire speech to Tourism within the first 100 days of a new Government’s time in office is unprecedented – DCMS officials have been unable to find any examples of previous Prime Ministers giving the industry this level of priority, ever – and underlines the industry’s enormous potential for the UK’s economic and cultural future. At the end of his speech, David Cameron asked for a new Tourism Policy for the UK, to be presented to him. In March he received that Policy.
Here the key elements of the policy paper that include plans to increase visitor numbers by:
- Consulting on whether to lengthen the tourism season by moving the first Bank Holiday in May to create either a new St George’s Day holiday in England (St David’s Day in Wales), or a Trafalgar Day bank holiday in the autumn half term;
- Helping to improve staff skills in the sector through extra apprenticeships and courses;
- Making tourist visas simpler, faster and more convenient to get;
- Repairing market failure by modifying the existing, long-established Tourist Boards to become smaller, highly focused, industry-led partnerships between tourism firms and government;
- Broadening tourism offer by creating alternative destinations which match London, the UK’s biggest and most successful single tourism destination to capture the spare tourism capacity and potential of other parts of Britain as well.
The report will also commit to:
- Helping the industry prepare for changes in technology, so tourism information can be provided through i-phone and android apps, making every destination far easier and more accessible for visitors to navigate;
- Creating an industry task force, led by senior industry figures, to cut red tape. They will be asked to identify sector specific rules, regulations, inspections and forms which are holding the industry back for it to be possible to cut, modify or abolish as many of them as possible.
The UK tourism strategy is based on the European Strategy, outlined in the EU Commission Communication on Tourism, published last October.