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Here's how to help tourism, Mr Cameron

20 August 2010 by

There were some unequivocal statements of intent in Prime Minister David Cameron's http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/08/13/334660/tourism-can-save-economy-says-cameron.htm" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">speech on tourism last week.

"I want to see us in the top five destinations in the world", he said. "I want to have the strongest possible engagement with the tourism industry," and "I want us to have the strongest possible tourism strategy."

It is, of course, refreshing to learn that the Prime Minister appreciates the contribution tourism and hospitality make towards our balance of payments and job creation. But, as every parent tires of telling their children, "I want" doesn't get.

In his speech, Cameron criticised the last government for underplaying our tourism. "They just didn't get our heritage," he said. If his Government is to prove more of a friend to hospitality and tourism, he'll need to turn last week's rhetoric into actions.

Here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling, Mr Cameron.

I want to see tangible evidence that this Government actually means to slash regulations and red tape - and soon.

I want reassurance that sufficient funding will be made available for effective domestic and international tourism promotion, through a rationalised network of marketing bodies.

And I want a VAT break for hotels to move them more in line with their European counterparts, as well as the reinstatement of the Hotel Buildings Allowance and a reduction in business taxes.

Without decisive actions such as these, tourism will continue to be, to quote your words, "looked down on as a second class service sector".

Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

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