Tourism bodies welcome David Cameron's bid to encourage visits outside London

17 July 2015 by
Tourism bodies welcome David Cameron's bid to encourage visits outside London

Tourism bodies have welcomed the five-point plan set out by David Cameron to encourage regional growth.

The Prime Minister said he would set up an inter-ministerial group to facilitate a co-ordinate approach and ensure that tourism is factored into governmental decision making.

Headed by culture secretary John Whittingdale, the group will focus on five areas:

  1. A better co-ordinated sector: greater collaboration between local attractions and tourism organisations to grow the sector for everyone
  2. Skills and jobs: driving and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth
  3. Common sense regulation: reforming regulation sensibly to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors
  4. Transport: forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors travel outside the capital
  5. An improved welcome: delivering a world class welcome at the border

British Hospitality Association chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the establishment of the group was a "watershed moment".

"Joined up government leadership will enable our vision for the UK to become the world's hospitality and tourism powerhouse attracting more visitors, creating more jobs and strengthening local economies to the benefit of all society," she said.

"We are mobilising the entire private sector to coordinate with national, regional and local government to maximise the industry's potential and look forward to working with the new inter-ministerial group to begin constructive dialogue with HM Treasury and other bodies to bolster the UK's international competitiveness and advance growth."

VisitBritain said that transport was a key issue to be addressed, in particular the ability of overseas visitors to book tickets in their own language.

VisitEngland's chief executive James Berresford said that his organisation was already committed to delivering regional growth through initiatives such as the Northern and South West Tourism Growth Funds and the proposed Product Development Fund.

He added: "We will work closely with the new inter-ministerial group and our partners across the country to deliver on these commitments and drive growth across the regions by showcasing and developing the standout product on offer in this country to key domestic and international markets, improving connectivity, ensuring England remains globally competitive and providing world-class experiences for all visitors."

Hilton president Simon Vincent, who has co-chaired the Tourism Industry Council since its inception in 2014, said that the hotel group was also behind the strategy.

"The travel, tourism and hospitality sectors are growing twice as fast as the rest of the UK economy and at Hilton Worldwide we have opened 50 hotels in the UK since 2007 alone, employing more than 12,000 people," he added. "Building on the success of the Tourism Industry Council, we look forward to working with ministers from all government departments to help deliver the new tourism plan."

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