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Tuesday 03 June 2003, 11:41 AM

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

TOURISM SUMMIT The Tourism Summit planned for June 10th has been postponed due to the Royal Day for the tourism industry being held on the same day. The Tourism Summit is a bi-annual cross-Whitehall meeting of ministers to discuss tourism issues. At the request of the Tourism Minister, Kim Howells, the Tourism Alliance submitted a document outlining the issues we wished to see addressed at the meeting. Set out below is an abridged summary of part of the document submitted to DCMS. INSURANCE LIABILITY COSTS - The attraction sector, in particular, is concerned that a claim culture, utilising 'no win/no fee' legal procedures and after-the-event insurance policies is increasing the insurance costs for operators of theme parks and attraction rides at an alarming rate as insurance companies take the commercial choice of settling even the most frivolous of claims before they reach the courts. The industry is seeking support for a variation or amendment of the Health & safety at Work Act placing greater responsibility on an individual to avoid behaviour likely to put themselves or others at risk of injury MINISTERIAL SUPPORT - The industry would welcome greater ministerial support from all departments in securing and promoting Britain's tourism industry – particularly in international markets. Specifically, when ministers were overseas, co-ordination with VisitBritain when attending trade missions or similar events would ensure that Britain’s tourism industry was able to receive additional benefit at minimal cost. The industry also seeks, where appropriate, personal endorsement from the Prime Minister for international convention, conference and trade events being staged in Britain. TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE - The industry is aware of the challenges Britain faces in modernising rail and road infrastructure. However, the industry is not persuaded that due consideration is given to the needs of tourists in transport planning procedures or that due consideration is given to proposed legislation that may hamper sustainable growth. CRIME PREVENTION - The industry recognises that crime prevention is a government priority. Nevertheless, while acknowledging that Britain does not have a 'Tourist Police' force, there is a widely held view that many police forces have limited understanding of the specific needs of international visitors. The Tourism Alliance would welcome the opportunity of contributing to a debate in respect of this issue. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES - The Tourism Alliance recognises that many RDA’s have quickly appreciated the benefits of tourism promotion and have made a positive contribution to the promotion of tourism. However, not all have been as active as the best. The Tourism Alliance urges government to encourage all RDA's to engage in tourism development policies and to examine all areas where co-operation between RDA's and other agencies will lead to a better return on investment. SECTOR SKILLS - The industry is fully committed to increasing training and skill levels throughout tourism and hospitality sectors with a properly trained and motivated workforce. The priorities are to encourage more young people to consider the travel and hospitality industry as a first choice career path and to work with the education sector to influence college curricula. The Tourism Alliance also made comments and recommendations in respect of Stamp Duty reforms, Gaming Law reform, Historic Properties Maintenance Relief, Planning Policy Guidance Notes and VAT on accommodation. The Alliance concluded by stating that while the industry is fully committed to contributing to its future prosperity, there is widespread disappointment that government funding for the promotion of tourism is still dependent on responding to industry crises rather than planned sustainable investment. Members who wish to see a copy of the letter to the Tourism Minister should contact Karishma Chandaria in the Tourism Alliance Secretariat. MEDIA Digby Jones and Richard Tobias hosted a lunch for journalists on 29th May. The primary objective was to acquaint media representatives of the work of the Tourism Alliance. Additionally, during the month Richard also gave a number of interviews to the BBC, ITN, Sky News, LWT and to a number of other trade and national newspapers. WORKING WITH OTHER ALLIANCES Richard Tobias will be meeting with the chief executives of the Scottish Tourism Forum, the Wales Tourism Alliance and the Northern Ireland Tourism Industry Confederation on 5th June. We will be discussing a number of issues where the Tourism Alliance and the other bodies have common interest. Members with any specific issues that require consideration should, in the first instance, contact Karishma Chandaria. MEETINGS During the past month Richard has held a number of meetings with other tourism bodies. They include TIER, VisitBritain, Business Tourism Partnership, BETA, DCMS and others. Earlier in the month Richard attended EIBTM in Geneva. He also met, with others, the Culture Secretary of State at a breakfast meeting in London. The meeting focussed on sustainable and continuous investment in the tourism industry – the summary point emphasised in the Tourism Alliance letter to Kim Howells. NEXT TOURISM ALLIANCE MEETING The next Tourism Alliance meeting, to which all members are invited, is on Monday June 16th. Chaired by Digby Jones, the meeting will be addressed by Tessa Jowell. If you have not yet RSVP'd to the invitation sent to you recently please do so without delay. TOURISM BREAKOUT AT THE CBI CONFERENCE For the first time ever tourism will be a featured breakout session at the 2003 CBI Conference. The Tourism Alliance is currently putting the programme together and further details will be available shortly. The CBI Conference takes place in Birmingham, with Monday 17th November being profiled for the tourism breakout. It is hoped that all Tourism Alliance members will be able to attend what will be an important session. The breakout session will be deemed to be a Plenary and as a consequence it will carry no charge for attendance. GALA DINNER While in Birmingham Tourism Alliance members may wish to attend the CBI Gala Dinner on 17th November. This is a high-profile event and if you are interested please contact Karishma Chandaria as soon as possible as table space is always in considerable demand. If we have enough interest we will reserve the suitable number of tables. Cost is to be finalised but will be in the region of circa £90 per person. GAMING REFORM While the tourism industry has broadly supported the Budd report on gaming reform, some members have voiced concerns with some aspects. In particular, pubic houses and other establishments where fruit machines are located face restrictions, which would lead to a loss of revenue. It would be very helpful if members with concerns in respect of gaming reform contact the Tourism Alliance so that we may monitor the position and make recommendations where appropriate. TOURISM ALLIANCE PUBLICATION – PRIORITIES FOR TOURISM The Tourism Alliance will shortly publish 'Priorities for Tourism'; the follow up document reviewing what progress has been made following the Tourism Alliance publication 'Tourism Spending Priorities' (published April 2002). Specifically, it will examine the role, contribution, challenges and benefits of tourism to the economy and will be formally handed to the Culture Secretary of State at the Tourism Alliance meeting on June 16th. VISITBRITAIN STRATEGIC PLANNING BULLETIN VisitBritain has published Issue 2 of the Strategic Planning Quarterly Bulletin. This is an extremely comprehensive review of current VisitBritain strategy covering a multitude of issues. Rather than extract sections of the report, if you wish to have a copy and be put on the email distribution list please contact [email protected] TOURISM STATISTICS IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE Tourism Alliance members will know that government has long bemoaned the industry for its lack of reliable statistics. While many organisations produce a plethora of sectorial information, bringing the whole together where it can add real value to our case for sustained central government investment has proved to be difficult. At the direction of the Secretary of State, DCMS have now formed a Project Steering Group to review the brief for the review process. While the industry may collectively groan at what may be perceived as another enquiry, it is vitally important that we are part of TSII and it is to be hoped that every Tourism Alliance member, and in turn their members, contribute to this process by completing and promoting the on-line /or postal questionnaire when it is published. AGENDA ISSUES FOR TAEG The Tourism Alliance Executive Group meets regularly and would welcome any issue that Tourism Alliance members wish to bring to their attention. Issues for agenda discussion should be forwarded to Karishma Chandaria no later than one week before the TAEG meets, together with any supporting documentation that will assist discussion. The next TAEG meeting is on July 1st. Ends

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