Recently the Government published their Tourism Action Plan and we’ve pulled out some of the key insights to share with you. Last year the UK tourism industry generated £22.1 billion in spending from inbound tourism to the UK and £19.6 billion from domestic tourism spend in England. However, many overseas visitors never venture beyond London, so over 50% of their spending is in the capital.
In essence, the Tourism Action Plan conveys the Government’s commitment to improve the UK’s competitive tourism offer.
Top UK tourism action plan insights
1. Improve transport network – international visitors can find it difficult to find the information they need, the plan aims to make it easier for visitors to explore by rail, bus and coach; for example by working to develop a new GREAT Rail offer and develop new partnerships between VisitBritain and online booking companies, like Expedia.
2. Improving quality skills – by introducing flexible apprenticeship schemes this will allows training to be completed over 16-18 months rather than 12, with breaks included; this addresses the seasonal nature of the tourism industry.
3. Common sense regulation – changing licensing to allow B&Bs to offer a welcome drink, and modifying vehicle licensing that will allow B&B owners to pick up visitors from train stations, plus the UK will make it easier for tourists to claim back VAT on eligible purchases.
4. Explore beyond London – visitor statistics are encouraging showing they venture beyond the capital, as the South East, South West, West Midlands and the North East saw international visits and spend grow at a faster rate than London in 2015.
5. Job creation – tourism is one of the UK’s most important industries with it directly responsible for 1.6 million jobs, employment in tourism growing at a faster rate than total UK employment and there is a #mytourism job campaign to encourage more young people to consider it as a career.
6. Latest visits – in the six months to June 2016, there were 17.3 million international visits to the UK and with campaigns like Defra’s Great British Food Campaign that will showcase British food and drink, UK visits looks set to increase in 2016.
7. Working together – UK tourism as a collective body aims to strengthen co-ordination and collaboration across providers by developing an overarching industrial strategy to grow tourism.
8. New funding – there’s a new £40 million Discover England fund to incentivise England’s destination organisations and businesses to join up to build world class tourism experiences and products.
9. Better informed – the roll-out of smart ticketing infrastructure and the development of route-planning apps like Rome2Rio aims to make it easier for passengers to make better decisions about their journeys.
10. Availability of information – UK tourism will improve the availability of visitor information through the UKVI website and in Visa Application Centres.
The UK Government pledges to ensure the continual growth of the industry and the Discover England fund is a good example of introducing people to new experiences such as proving the opportunity to walk a section of the new, 2,700 mile national coastal path.
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