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Wednesday 30 April 2003, 11:34 AM

Richard Tobais OBE, Deputy Chairman of the Alliance gives an update on Alliance activities during April 2003.

VISITBRITAIN April saw the official launch of VisitBritain – the amalgamation of the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council. During the past month I have had meetings with a number of VisitBritain directors and other personnel, all with the objective of ensuring that the views of the Tourism Alliance are taken into account when the new body is formulating policy and implementing strategy. NEW VISITBRITAIN BOARD The new VisitBritain board of directors was announced today. Digby Jones, Tourism Alliance Chairman, has accepted an invitation from the Secretary of State to serve on the new board. Other members of the board are Sir Michael Lickess (chairman), Philip Evans, Peter Lederer, Kumar Muthalagappan, Des Wilson, Viscountess Cobham, Alan Parker and Hugh Taylor. Tamara Ingram (London Tourist Board) and Tom McGrath (Northern Ireland Tourist Board) will be Observers NEW TOURISM ALLIANCE MEMBERS During the past month I have spoken with the chief executives of a number of organisations not yet members of the TA, and expect applications for TA membership from those bodies shortly. It is timely to remind members that the names of any organisation you feel would benefit from being a member of Tourism Alliance should be given to Karishma Chandaria in the Tourism Alliance Secretariat (tel: 020 7395 8246 or [email protected] ). The Executive Group recently invited BALPPA to join the EG. Colin Dawson, chief executive, will represent BALPPA. INDUSTRY GROUPS VisitBritain has put together a number of tourism industry groups to co-ordinate the challenges facing Britain’s tourism industry during the coming months and, as reported last month, I have accepted an invitation to represent the Tourism Alliance on the All Tourism Recovery Strategy Group. A list of the other bodies where I represent the Tourism Alliance was also given in last month’s Tourism Alliance Report or may be obtained from Karishma Chandaria. TOURISM SUMMIT The Tourism Alliance Secretariat is putting the final touches to the document we will be submitting to DCMS for discussion at the Tourism Summit in June. Thank you to all of you who submitted views on the range of topics you wished me to raise at the Summit. MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES During the past month I have attended a number of meetings and events on behalf of the Tourism Alliance including the launch of the British Educational Travel Association, the England for Excellence awards, the inaugural meeting of ATRSG (see above), the British Tourism Development Committee, TIER and others. I have also met with the Wales Tourism Alliance and with the chairman of the Scottish Tourism Forum. If members wish to have any specific feedback in relation to these meetings please do not hesitate to contact me. I am keen to have a close working relationship with the Scottish Tourism Forum and the Wales Tourism Alliance and will be meeting with both organisations on a regular basis to ensure commonality of purpose. MEMBERS’ POSITION PAPERS Many organisations have position papers on issues of specific interest. A number of organisations have approached me to enquire whether the TA can adopt or endorse those positions. To ensure that the Tourism Alliance is ‘in the loop’ it would be very helpful if these can be sent to Karishma Chandaria, together with a one page executive summary of the position. Position papers will then be discussed and considered by the Tourism Alliance Executive Group (TAEG) and acted upon. The Tourism Alliance can only add value to your views and co-ordinate an industry position if we have your feedback. THE BUDGET The Budget on 9th April was almost the shortest on record although the Chancellor did manage to announce that he was “freezing” Air Passenger Duty. There is strong evidence that the Chancellor was minded to increase APD and that lobbying by the Tourism Alliance played a crucial part in changing his mind. However, this is one tax that is easy to increase and the TA will be monitoring the position during the next twelve months. MEDIA ACTIVITIES It is essential that the Tourism Alliance gains wider media understanding and during the past month I have appraised a number of journalists on the work of the Tourism Alliance. One example may be found by logging onto Digby and I will be hosting a media briefing lunch in May to further our objectives. 2004 TOURISM ALLIANCE BUDGET At an Executive Group meeting on 16th April the TAEG approved the budget and subscription levels for members for 2004. As previously stated in the March Tourism Alliance Report, the CBI will continue to fund, along with the TAEG private sector organisations, the funding of the Tourism Alliance up until the end of 2003. From January 2004 the Tourism Alliance will be self-supporting with all private sector organisations being asked to contribute. Subscriptions will range (assessed on a turnover basis) from £350 + VAT per annum for the smallest trade associations to £5,000 per annum for the largest organisations. While the TAEG is committed to ensuring that the Tourism Alliance remains inclusive, it is equally committed to the tourism industry, led by the private sector, having a strong, independent and comprehensive lobbying and communications body. The Secretary of State and the Tourism Minister have given the Tourism Alliance their full backing and I hope that every member will also continue to back and support the Alliance in 2004. In September of this year we will be issuing invoices to all private sector bodies currently in membership. Between now and then Karishma will be speaking individually to all members to ascertain and agree the appropriate level of subscription. While I would be more than happy to speak to any member who feels this may cause difficulties, we do need to be realistic. The Tourism Alliance needs to be properly funded if it is to achieve its objectives, and a £75 billion a year industry should be able to support a not-for-profit overarching trade body representing and championing its interests to government. NEXT TOURISM ALLIANCE MEETING The next Tourism Alliance meeting is on Monday 16th June at Centre Point, starting at 4.30pm. Digby Jones will chair the meeting, which will be addressed by the Culture Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell. Further details will be sent to you in May. If you know of any travel, tourism or hospitality body that you believe should receive an invitation to the meeting, please contact Karishma Chandaria. ends Richard Tobias Deputy Chairman, Tourism Alliance

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