TOURISM ALLIANCE REPORT – DECEMBER 2003
Friday 19 December 2003, 11:17 AM
Richard Tobais OBE, Deputy Chairman of the Alliance gives an update on Alliance activities during the autumn.
It has been a little while since we sent you an update on Tourism Alliance activities – but that doesn't mean that we have been idle. Far from it! During the autumn the Tourism Alliance has been active on a whole range of issues on behalf of members, some of which are set out below. We have also been instigating and amending internal infrastructure procedures to consolidate and strengthen the future work of the TA.
TOURISM ALLIANCE INFRASTRUCTURE
To enable the TA to widen representation from all sectors of the industry, earlier this year the TA Executive Group (TAEG), since renamed the Executive Committee (EC), agreed a number of constitutional and structural changes. The objective is to enable members to have a greater input into the work output of the Tourism Alliance and to ensure fair and equitable representation in all sectors. The amended Constitution will be presented to members in the Spring and will include a structure enabling members to offer themselves for election to the Executive Committee.
The TA is also changing its legal structure to a company limited by guarantee (a structure similar to many other industry bodies). To comply with responsible corporate procedure and compliance a number of new or amended posts have been created as follows, all with effect from January 1st 2004.
President: Digby Jones
Director-General: Richard Tobias OBE
Chairman of the Executive Committee: Bob Cotton OBE
Company Secretary: Tony Millns
Treasurer: Ian Reynolds
All posts are Honorary with the exception of the Director-General, and are for an initial period of one year.
The EC has also created four Policy Groups. The PG's will report to the EC on the key macro issues identified by members earlier this year as the work programme objectives for 2004. They are Skills and Training (chaired by Bob Cotton), Transport & Infrastructure (chaired by Ros Pritchard), Funding and Raising the Profile of Tourism (chaired by Richard Tobias), and Taxation issues (chaired by Stephen Dowd).
TOURISM ALLIANCE SECRETARIAT
At the beginning of November Karishma Chandaria left the CBI to take up a new post with the British Hospitality Association.
Karishma had been seconded by the CBI to act as the Tourism Alliance Administrator. We take this opportunity of thanking Karishma for the excellent work she undertook on behalf of the Tourism Alliance. Her post has been filled by Rebecca Sutton-Ward. Rebecca's background in both the public and private sectors enables her to bring a wealth of experience to her new role.
The CBI has very generously confirmed that for the foreseeable future the Tourism Alliance will continue to be domiciled at the CBI's offices in Centre Point, and that much of the TA's organisational support funding will continue to be met by the CBI.
All TA contributing members were sent an invoice for 2004 subscriptions in September. Subscriptions are due by 1st January 2004. You will recall that earlier this year the TAEG agreed with the CBI that, as an industry led body, private sector organisations should, from January 2004, make a contribution to TA costs. Subscription levels are graduated and are set on self-certification of members' turnover. Please help us by settling your subscription invoice promptly saving us the expense of sending reminders.
MEETINGS WITH OFFICIALS / MINISTERS
The Tourism Alliance is the principal tourism overarching communications and lobbying body between the tourism industry – inbound, outbound and domestic - and Government. The remit covers the private, public and voluntary sectors. To that end the Tourism Alliance Chairman (and/or the Deputy Chairman) has regular meetings with Ministers and Officials (principally, but not exclusively, with DCMS) in respect of tourism matters and issues.
The Chairman also meets with the Prime Minister and Chancellor regularly where, as appropriate, tourism and related issues are discussed.
Members are invited to submit to the TA Secretariat any issues that are of concern as it is our intention to initiate meetings with Officials, (and on occasion, with Ministers), with Tourism Alliance members on matters of sectorial interest.
During the past months the TA has lobbied on a number of issues with Ministers including Air Passenger Duty, the Tour Operators Margin Scheme, and an increase in Government investment in the industry. We have also supported members in their efforts to reverse Stamp Duty increases and with Public Liability issues, as well as assisting members with particular sectorial issues. The principal remit is to 'add value' to the work and lobbying undertaken by TA members as well as undertaking our overarching role representing wider industry interests.
MEETINGS WITH SHADOW MINISTERS
The Tourism Alliance Chairman and Deputy Chairman meet with Shadow Ministers from both main opposition political parties on a regular basis to discuss issues of interest to TA members. Tourism Alliance members who wish to present an issue to Shadow Ministers through the Tourism Alliance should contact the TA Secretariat in the first instance.
MEETINGS WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS
On behalf of the Tourism Alliance, the Deputy Chairman meets regularly with a wide range of organisations with an interest or remit for promoting tourism within Britain. In addition to individual meetings with Tourism Alliance members, they include, amongst many others, VisitBritain, the Bank of England, the Scottish Tourism Forum, the Northern Ireland Tourism Industry Confederation and the Wales Tourism Alliance.
Richard Tobias also represents the Tourism Alliance on the DCMS Hartwell Group, the British Tourism Development Committee, the Tourism Industry Emergency Response group and the World Travel Market Advisory Council. Digby Jones is a Board Member of VisitBritain.
SECTOR SKILLS COUNCIL
It has been a long and somewhat difficult journey for the tourism industry to get to the point of having a Sector Skills Council in place but, barring any last minute hitches, the SSC should be up and running by March 2004. Richard Tobias represents the Tourism Alliance as a Board Member of the aspirant Sector Skills Council.
TOURISM ALLIANCE PLENARY
The recent Tourism Alliance Plenary meeting took place during the CBI Conference in Birmingham.
This was the first time tourism was scheduled as a breakout session at a CBI Conference and was attended by approximately seventy TA members and CBI delegates. The Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, VisitBritain chairman Sir Michael Lickiss and Tourism Alliance Deputy Chairman, Richard Tobias, addressed the meeting.
During the meeting the SoS announced two new DCMS working parties. The first to address skills issues and the second to address quality issues. Further details will be distributed in due course.
The date of the next Tourism Alliance meeting will be announced shortly. It will coincide with the publication of the Tourism Prospectus (see below) and will be held in London.
PRESIDENT AT ABTA CONVENTION
Digby Jones, Tourism Alliance chairman, (President from 1st January 2004) was a key-note speaker at the recent ABTA Convention in Palma, Majorca. Digby's presentation was extremely well received by the thousand plus delegates attending the presentation (and on a Sunday morning too!).
OTHER RECENT PRESENTATIONS
Richard Tobias has addressed a number of tourism related conferences, conventions and seminars during recent months. They include: the BETA Youth & Student Business Seminar, the ALVA Presidents Meeting, the ALVA Members Meeting, the Business Tourism Conference and the Strengthening UK Tourism Conference.
One of the principal activities during the next twelve months will be for the Tourism Alliance to strengthen our relationship with media contacts. The objective is to ensure that tourism issues are effectively communicated to as wide an audience as possible, and to build the profile of the TA. In recent months this process has had significant success, with both the Chairman and Deputy chairman holding one-to-one meetings with journalists from both the national and trade media.
Most members will know that DCMS are currently drafting a Tourism Prospectus. The prospectus will, in effect, be a document setting out a number of principal objectives for British tourism objectives in respect of overseas markets, and English tourism objectives in respect of the domestic market, in the coming years, and laying down KPI's for delivery. The prospectus will also state which body or bodies are responsible for delivery of key objectives.
Whilst DCMS are drafting the document, the prospectus will be co-sponsored by VisitBritain, the RDA's and the Tourism Alliance. Early in the new-year the second draft will be circulated to Tourism Alliance members for comment, and to ensure a comprehensive response and possible further input, TA members are encouraged to respond through the Tourism Alliance Secretariat.
Those members who do respond to DCMS directly are asked to send a copy to the TA Secretariat. It is envisaged that the Secretary of State will launch the Prospectus in the Spring.
In an earlier communication to all members we stated that with the formation of the Tourism Alliance, the industry had been given the opportunity of 'getting its act together' by co-ordinating messaging and communication with Government. For far too long the industry was perceived as fragmented and uncoordinated.
The outbreak of foot and mouth disease followed by the dreadful events of September 11th galvanised the industry to begin to act as one, and take advantage of our position as a powerful economic driver.
However, the future is in our hands and it only with the support of all organisations that we will continue to make progress.
I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous new year.