UK announces Tourism Action Plan

Last week, the UK government launched a Tourism Action Plan “to improve Britain’s competitive tourism offer and ensure the continued success of the tourism industry.

The plan includes several hospitality-related measures, including cutting red tape for tourism with “sensible regulation” by changing alcohol and vehicle licensing to allow B&Bs to offer welcome drinks and pick up visitors from train stations; and allowing hospitality businesses in certain tourist areas to make apprenticeship plans more flexible. 

In a statement, the British Hospitality Association—which has called for a Seaside Tsar to help help seaside resorts—said it welcomed the government's “clear commitment to supporting the tourism industry right across the UK.” 

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“Coastal tourism alone supports more jobs than the steel, pharmaceutical and aerospace industries combined, and it is often the cornerstone of local economies in these regions. Yet many of these communities face serious social and economic challenges,” the association said. 

“The British people’s decision to leave the European Union creates real opportunities for growth and we will work in close partnership with the tourism industry, to ensure it continues to thrive as negotiations on the UK’s exit progress,” Prime Minister Theresa May said when the plan was announced. “We are making it easier for visitors to travel beyond London and experience all of the world-class attractions the UK has to offer, to make sure the benefits of this thriving industry are felt by the many and not the few.”

Deirdre Wells, CEO of UKinbound, praised the initiatives. “We are delighted that the prime minister has recognized the importance of our industry and the role it can play in bringing valuable economic growth to the UK,” she said in a statement. “The funding will be vitally important to enhancing our tourism offer in a post-Brexit environment" 

Wells is slated to speak at the upcoming Annual Hotel Conference in a panel focused on the future of the UK hotel market. Her co-panelists for “Break on Through to the Other Side” will include Michael Hirst, a consultant with CBRE Hotels; Stephen Cassidy of Hilton; Dan Ruff, president & MD EMEA for Wyndham; and Robin Sheppard of Bespoke Hotels.

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