David Cameron recently announced the Government’s new 5 point plan to boost tourism across the entire UK. The aim is to spread the benefits of one of the fastest growing sectors beyond the capital, and to focus on creating jobs and rebalancing the economy.

Part of the plan will see a new inter-ministerial group created, whose role will be to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to allow visitors to discover the best of what the UK has to offer. The group will be led by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and is set to include ministers from across Government, including:

  • The Department for Communities and Local Government
  • BIS
  • DEFRA
  • The Home Office
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

At present the Government has announced 5 key focus areas.

  1. A better co-ordinated sector
  2. Skills and jobs
  3. Common sense regulation
  4. Transport
  5. An improved welcome.

Alongside this new plan it has been revealed that the Prime Minister is also set to announce:

“A £1 million ‘Rail for Tourism innovation’ competition, which will call for ideas to transform the travel experience for visitors to the UK and make exploring the UK by rail more attractive to tourists”.

It is understood that the competition will be run by the Rail Safety and Standard Board’s Future Railways Programme, with winners set to receive funding to develop ideas and undertake trials. The hope is that by opening up new experiences to tourists, outside of London, visitors can be encouraged to experience the best of Britain. 

In a recent visit to the South West the Prime Minister said:

"Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London. But Britain has so much more to offer, from the Cornish Riviera to the Scottish Highlands and everything in between.

For many areas tourism is a key industry bringing jobs, growth and security for working people. Tourism supports almost one in 10 jobs in the UK and we want to rebalance the economy to make sure this boost is felt right across the country.”

Echoing these comments the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale said that:

“Tourism is a vital industry that brings jobs and growth to local economies across Britain. There are so many world-class things to see and do in the UK, and we need to make sure visitors are experiencing as many of them as possible.

I am delighted to chair this new group which will put tourism at the heart of government and help to ensure that every part of the UK benefits by co-ordinating action across Government. We want every visitor to the UK, whether from home or abroad, to have a brilliant experience and shout about it, encouraging even more tourists to choose Britain.”

The Government hopes to be able to build on the highly successful 2011 tourism strategy, which saw record numbers of overseas visitors in 2014. The direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy in 2014 was reportedly almost £60 billion (representing an increase of a fifth since 2010). Last year, international visitors spent a record £21.8 billion in local economies across the country, with nearly every region seeing a rise in either visitor numbers or spending. It is estimated that in 2013 9% of jobs in the UK were in tourism-related industries and jobs in the sector were growing at a rate of almost double that found in other industries. 

The funding announced with this plan follows that previously announced in March of this year, the goal of which was to boost tourism specifically in both the South-West and North of England. The Government hopes that the £5 million fund designated for the South-West will help to position the area as a must-see destination. Further it is hoped that it will generate an additional £60 million in additional visitor spending, creating up to 1000 jobs and incentivising local businesses to collaborate on improving the experience for visitors to the area. Information has also been given that part of the fund will be used to promote the South West in the USA, with the aim of encouraging greater connectivity with the United States. There is also a £10 million fund to support Northern tourist destinations with the aim of attracting international visitors as a key part of the Government’s plan to create a ‘Northern Powerhouse’. 

Making the most of the 5 point plan - How Pitmans can help you

It is clear that the new plans are a positive step in encouraging tourism across the breadth of the UK. Regional businesses in the hospitality sector should be prompt to adapt to what could mean a significant boost in the years to come.

If you need help setting up a new company, creating or revising your business plan, negotiating a lease, or the purchase of a property, advice on protecting and making the most of your intellectual property rights, assistance with your banking documentation, alcohol license and planning permission applications, advice on your insurance and health and safety policies, assistance with your employment concerns or if you require a review of your terms and conditions for suppliers, we can help.