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Plenary Meeting Minutes

Background papers

Minister outlines tourism reform to the industry

Wednesday 13 November 2002, 11:49 AM

On Thursday 7 November, the Tourism Minister Dr Kim Howells addressed the Tourism Alliance Plenary meeting.

Members of the Alliance, which represents the tourism industry’s trade organisations involved in all aspects of tourism, expressed concerns about the recent government announcement on the future of England’s tourism policy. The decision, announced by the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell on 31October, will see the merging of the English Tourism Council (ETC) and the British Tourist Authority (BTA) into a new marketing and promotion organisation, name yet to be announced. Dr June-Alison Sealy, Secretary to the Alliance said, ‘We called for a national marketing role to be given to the ETC. During the Foot and Mouth crisis, it was clear to everyone that England needed to market more effectively to people in Britain. This decision shows that we have been heard by government, but we are disappointed that this means the loss of the ETC in the process’. The Tourism Alliance agreed to give qualified support to the government’s announcement, but recognises that its members still have concerns. These include:  the many ambiguities and uncertainties that still remain about both national and regional tourism delivery;  the future of the ETC’s strategic support activities including data collection, analysis and quality assurance schemes for the consumer; and  the issue of funding, including the additional funding required from the private sector. Alliance members confirmed that they want to play their part in supporting the government but see the announcement as a missed opportunity to engage the private sector from the outset as a strong and effective delivery partner. Dr Sealy added, ‘The Minister assures us that there is time for consultation over the next few months. We recognise that the success of any restructuring is predicated both on the moral and practical support of the private sector. Tourism is facing a crossroads and we must ensure that the path we take leads us to an enhanced competitive position on the world stage’. We are grateful that the Minister attended the significant gathering of key players in England’s tourism industry. We are now looking for positive action by government to engage and work through the Tourism Alliance with these key participants from the private sector on the future for tourism.’

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