LONDON—The British Minister for Tourism and Heritage today released a draft of the Government Tourism Policy, which focuses on localized marketing efforts and deregulation of the hotel industry’s rating system.
The 54-page paper is a response to Prime Minster David Cameron’s request for John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to establish priorities and actionable steps.
View the entire UK Tourism Policy draft.
“For the first time, Government has a tourism strategy that reaches right across Whitehall, looking at policies from a tourism perspective,” Cameron said in the paper’s preface. “… Government will play our part, but we know that the real key to making Britain’s tourist industry flourish lies with the industry itself and the businesses and organizations at its heart.”
|Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Tourism Minister John Penrose.
British tourism is expected to employ 1.5 million people directly by 2020 and 2.9 million if indirect employment (mainly amongst suppliers to the industry) is included.
Tourism marketing and destination management
The government wants to properly capitalize on several large events coming to the United Kingdom. Among them, a Royal Wedding, Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“Our goal will be to use the London 2012 games as a once-in-a-generation chance to boost Britain’s tourism industry by attracting 4 million extra visitors to our country and creating 50,000 extra jobs over the next four years,” the report stated.
The government announced a plan to strike deals with national and international businesses to create a £100-million (US$162.7-million) partnership marketing fund of “£50 million (US$81.4 million) of public money and £50 million from private partners, such as British Airways, LastMinute.com and Radisson Edwardian, to promote Britain abroad.”
The DCMS also plans to host tourism industry events.
“During 2012, we intend to bring together tourism ministers at a World Summit. Our aim will be to showcase Britain’s achievements, share best practice and discuss ideas for growing tourism globally across the mature visitor economies in the world.”
The government will modify Tourist Boards to become smaller, highly focused, industry-led partnerships between tourism firms and government. They will be funded through long-term partnership marketing campaigns and will be focused on destination management.
As previously reported, the government withdrew its financial support of the hotel star rating quality schemes.
The DCMS paper: “By common consent within the sector, the scheme hasn’t driven up standards, is elitist and doesn’t acknowledge the importance of value for money at all price points. Many firms have lost confidence in it, or simply refused to join at all. As a result, the Government will stop trying to corral tourism firms in England into joining an official rating scheme.”
To increase competitiveness with other countries, the government also said it will cut the main rate of corporation tax to 24 pence (39 cents) and the small companies rate to 20 pence (33 cents). It also will consider how to simplify small business taxes as well.
It did not, however, modify the VAT rate. Instead, it said it will keep all taxes under review and will consider proposals for new reliefs carefully, “but the financial base we inherited means we must give priority to maintaining our fiscal base.”
In fact, the U.K. VAT rate increased this year from 17.5% to 20%.