Published on : Monday, January 7, 2019
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright confirmed the Government would begin negotiations with the tourism sector on an ambitious Industrial Strategy sector deal that should benefit the whole country. He said this while speaking to the Tourism Industry Council, which comprises leading members of the tourism industry and the government.
As a part of this process, he has called upon the industry to respond with a renewed commitment to promote its offer throughout the year, not just during the peak summer months, and increase clear career paths.
The sector has been asked to look at the key themes of:
The announcement follows an initial proposal submitted by tourism industry leaders, led by Steve Ridgway, Chair of the British Tourist Authority. It also comes as the Government marks one year since the launch of its modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
Mr Wright said, the tourism industry is one of UK’s most successful exports. Every time a leisure or business traveller chooses to visit, it brings investment into our economy and supports jobs across the country. But UK is in a competitive global market and needs to be ambitious to maintain the fantastic growth seen in recent years.
A Sector Deal is a way to deliver this, and the industry has put forward some great ideas to the government.
“We are ready to formally negotiate on a deal which can boost productivity in this crucial sector. I want to achieve the best deal possible for tourism and know that the industry will respond with renewed energy to achieve this,” he added.
UK tourism is now worth over £66 billion a year to the economy. The sector employs 1.6 million people, covering beaches and activity parks, to hundreds of thousands of heritage sites.
Annual statistics released in July revealed that a record-breaking 39.2 million visits were made by overseas tourists to the UK in 2017, with the latest domestic tourism figures showing that residents across Great Britain took a total of 120.7 million overnight visits to destinations in England, Scotland and Wales in 2017.
There are more than 11 million disabled people in the UK with a combined spending power of their households, ‘the purple pound’, standing at around £250 billion. There are a number of business benefits for ensuring that disabled people’s needs are catered for – from improved training on disability awareness for staff to adaptations to ensure facilities are accessible.
A potential tourism sector deal is an opportunity for driving change, through workforce development and consequent productivity gains, resulting in perception changes of hospitality and tourism as a career for life.