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Government outlines new tourism strategy

27 July 2004
Government outlines new tourism strategy

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell this week released the Government's new business strategy for the tourism industry, Tomorrow's Tourism Today, to cautious enthusiasm.

In the Government's first official tourism strategy paper since 1998, Jowell outlined how the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with key partners to drive the tourism industry forward, but failed to set any concrete targets or outline a budget for the plans.

The key areas outlined for action were marketing and e-tourism, accommodation quality, workforce skills and data collection.

Also significant was the establishment of a new body, the Tourism Review and Implementation Group (TRIG) made up of industry bodies, regional development agencies, universities and some private sector companies, such as Whitbread and Tussauds. TRIG will have executive powers on top of its advisory functions.

The DCMS also said it would actively support Britain's tourism industry within Whitehall and through the European Union.

However, industry bodies and opposition parties hit back at the paper's lack of definite targets and deadlines or budgetary guidelines.

A spokesman for VisitBritain said: "This is supposed to be a business plan for the industry, a restatement of where the lines of responsibility lie, but no specific deadlines or targets have been set. And a budget is not expected for another two months, so we don't know yet how it will all operate."

He added that only when the DCMS released how much money it was to invest in tourism would it become clear how seriously it wanted to support the industry.

The paper also failed to set a target for job creation in tourism or to outline how the economic benefits of growth can be distributed beyond London.

Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster said: "If this were a business prospectus, the Government wouldn't stand a chance of getting a loan on it. It is almost devoid of targets, deadlines, aspirations and budgets."

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