Many more hotels, B&Bs and pubs need to take part in accommodation grading schemes if tourism in the UK is to reach its full potential, a Government blueprint has suggested.
The document, called Tomorrow's Tourism Today, was unveiled this morning by culture secretary Tessa Jowell.
She wanted to see the tourism industry grow from its current value of £76b a year to £100b a year by 2010.
The blueprint focuses on four areas: how to improve marketing (including marketing via the internet), the quality of accommodation, the skills of those working in the industry and the quality of data available.
When it comes to accommodation, the report criticised the fact that there is currently only 43% participation in grading schemes in England, and still not enough understanding among consumers about how such schemes work.
There needed to be a "significant increase" in participation and by 2007 a "measurable" increase in consumer understanding, the report recommended.
The perception of the sector as low-wage and low-expectation was another big problem that needed to be addressed.
The new Sector Skills Council for the industry. launched in May, would need to play a key role in improving skills, the report said.
"If the industry is to deliver a truly high-quality product, it must become the career choice for more of our brightest and most ambitious people," it added.
by Nic Paton
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