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TESSA JOWELL STRESSES BENEFITS OF TOURISM REFORM FOR INDUSTRY

Wednesday 26 February 2003, 2:57 PM

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell today outlined the benefits the industry can expect from radical reform to the Government's support for tourism

They include having a greater say in how public funds are spent to promote England and Britain as tourist destinations and improved productivity and profitability. But in order to maximise these benefits, she warned industry leaders they will need to work in partnership with each other, the public sector and Government. Speaking at the Hartwell Three Tourism Seminar in London, Tessa Jowell stressed that the Government was looking to industry to take the initiative to help define how England's new national tourism body - formed from the merger of the British Tourist Authority and English Tourism Council - will promote England. She said industry needed to engage now through its trade bodies to avoid missing the boat on having a say in shaping the new marketing agenda for England that will stem from the reforms. The establishment of the England Marketing division, with an England Marketing Director, within the new body is well underway, with a potential budget of at least £5m. A draft marketing strategy for England is currently being developed. Tessa Jowell said: "A key strand of reform is greater involvement for the industry. We want the industry to play its full part in helping to direct the use of public funds. "I know that existing resources in both the public and private sectors can be put to better use - if just a few percent of the industry's current marketing spend was redirected to support joint programmes, we could see a vast improvement in productivity and profitability. "But I am not referring to funding issues alone. Amongst the many ways in which we can work in partnership to support the industry at large are the sharing of best practice; visions and ideas and of fundamental resources, such as databases." During the seminar, Tessa Jowell invited three key speakers to outline three concrete examples of how partnership has worked in practice, both nationally and locally: * Bob Cotton, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality and Restaurants Association, outlined the success of the Product through Productivity initiative - an extensive joint Government and industry programme of business support, delivering practical help for small businesses by assisting them every step of the way to produce results that will benefit the industry and economy through boosting quality, productivity and competiveness. * Tom Wright, Chief Executive of the BTA, reported that the Million Visitor Campaign (also known as Only in Britain, Only in 2002) was being followed up with the new European Short Breaks Campaign in 2003/04. This will focus on the growing short breaks market from 11 key European countries. This is an even broader partnership than the Million Visitor Campaign, including many individual cities and building on city of culture bids, as well as normal industry partners. * Declan Swan of the Hospitality Training Foundation outlined plans for a Sector Skills Council for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors - a proposed industry and Government initiative to increase training opportunities and thereby drive up standards, ensuring visitors have a pleasurable experience once they arrive in Britain. The reforms, which were announced in October 2002, will go live in April. They include setting up the new national lead body, which will combine the resources and strengths of the existing English Tourism Council and the BTA to better market Britain to both the overseas and domestic market. There will be a more coherent marketing agenda across Britain by ensuring that England, Scotland and Wales retain and develop strong separate brand identities to attract domestic holidaymakers as well as those from overseas. Mr Cotton said: "The industry supports the new England marketing agenda: it is something we have pressed for strongly. Combined with the work on skills and productivity improvement, we now have a strong basis for a partnership between Government and industry." Richard Tobias, Deputy Chairman of the Tourism Alliance, was also attending the seminar. He said: "I am delighted the money has been found for England marketing in the way the Secretary of State intended, and the Tourism Alliance looks forward to working with the new national tourism body to promote tourism more effectively." The reform programme builds on priorities for tourism identified at the initial Hartwell seminar in November 2001, which was originally called to address issues raised for the industry by the effects of September 11 and Foot and Mouth Disease. These priorities were boosting domestic marketing, improving training and skills, developing e-tourism, creating a single voice for industry and improving data and quality. Notes to Editors 1 The Hartwell Three Tourism Seminar was held today at the Department for Culture Media and Sport in London. 2 The event was attended by a wide range of industry bodies including representatives from the English Tourism Council, The Local Government Association, the Council for Travel and Tourism, The Business Tourism Partnership and the Hospitality Training Foundation. 3 Press release 195/02, announcing the reform of Government support for tourism, was issued on October 31 2002. The press release can be found on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6267/6271 Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153 Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200 Internet: -- admin



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