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Friday 11 April 2003, 2:03 PM

Richard Tobais OBE, Deputy Chairman of the Alliance gives an update on Alliance activities during March.

Colleagues As I conclude my first month as Deputy Chairman of the Tourism Alliance I am appraising you on the progress we have made to date. First, the infrastructure at the Tourism Alliance Secretariat is now up and running. On average I spend a few hours per week at the Secretariat’s base at the CBI and am in regular daily contact with Karishma Chandaria. My task, as I see it, is not to sit at a desk in Centre Point every day but to be out and about promoting the work of the Tourism Alliance as per the Executive Group’s* agreed work-plan, and to attend meetings to ensure the views of the Tourism Alliance are known to the widest possible audience. During the past four weeks I have attended a number of meetings on behalf of the Alliance including meetings with officials and Ministers at DCMS, bodies involved with the merger of the BTA and ETC, and the Mayor for London’s office. I’ve also had meetings in respect of sector skills matters and other related issues. The Alliance has issued two press releases in relation to tourism matters and I’ve had a number of background briefing meetings with journalists. I represent the Tourism Alliance on the following committees: Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER) London Tourism Response & Recovery Group The Mayor for London’s Tourism Advisory Committee British Tourism Development Committee Sector Skills Council for Hospitality, Leisure, Travel & Tourism All Tourism Recovery Strategy Group DCMS Hartwell Group Sir Michael Lickess, chairman of VisitBritain, will be making a presentation to Executive Group members on 16th April. I would be grateful if Tourism Alliance members would contact Karishma Chandaria if there are any specific issues you wish the Executive Group to discuss with Sir Michael. The meeting will commence at 8.00am with Digby Jones in the chair. I have been asked by DCMS to prepare a document outlining what Government can do to help the industry during the present conflict in the middle east and perhaps more importantly, what help can be given in rebuilding the industry following a cessation of hostilities. I have already proposed that both Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue review arrangements for the collection of VAT and business rates. You will recall that similar arrangements for payment deferment were put into place during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. I would be grateful if Tourism Alliance members could contact me with any suggestions but I do stress this should not simply be a ‘shopping list’ or a ‘wish list’. Sensible, doable and practical measures are more likely to find a sympathetic ear than a plea for additional funds – although that also will be an objective providing we can build a robust and sustainable case. Finally, a request for help. I am determined that the Tourism Alliance becomes the focal communications body between the industry and government. During the next few months your views will be sought on a wide variety of issues. The objective is to produce a set of position papers that fairly represent the views of the industry as a whole. That is not to say that individual trade associations and other bodies will not have individual views on specific issues or subjects. However, there is no doubt that collective views carry more weight than any sectorial view and a collective view will, wherever possible, be sought. Any position papers you have on specific issues (for example: Britain joining a single European currency or the location of additional runway capacity or VAT on accommodation) would be very helpful. Please let Karishma Chandaria know of any organisation who you feel will benefit by being a member of the Tourism Alliance. * Tourism Alliance Executive Group Members: ABTA (Ian Reynolds) ALVA (Robin Broke), ARELS (Tony Millns), BBPA (Rob Hayward), BHA (Bob Cotton), BHHPA (Ros Pritchard), BITOA (Stephen Dowd), CBI (June-Alison Sealy) LGA (Sir Ron Watson), NWTB (Dorothy Naylor) VisitBritain (Sandie Dawe) ends -- admin

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