February 2016

Trade paper for the domestic tourism and inbound tourism industry in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland

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NO. 1 FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL, TOURISM AND BUSINESS NEWS IN ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND & WALES By Sam Mayling and George Clode MORE than 40 jobs are at risk as part of a shake-up of UK tourism bodies, with compulsory redundancies not ruled out. VisitBritain and VisitEngland remain separate brands with ring-fenced budgets but will be one integrated business under the British Tourist Authority. BTA staff across VisitEngland and VisitBritain were told of the changes last month and a 30-day internal global consultation period is under way. The final organisational structure is due to be agreed during February and March. A spokesperson said: "Within the new structure there are new jobs and opportunities for staff. We will consult over the next month to ensure all staff are treated fairly and to minimise compulsory redundancies. "Across both organisations we have 44 people at risk, 20 at risk and in a pool, and 188 who are being transferred or whose jobs are unaffected. We have 64 vacancies." The changes follow last year's settlement for tourism in the government's Comprehensive Spending Review, including a new £40 million Discover England Fund and increased funding for the GREAT campaign. Exclusive travel trade press sponsor NO. 1 FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL, TOURISM AND BUSINESS NEWS IN ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND & WALES February 2016 No. 445 Industry bosses had raised concerns in December over a U-turn on plans to separate VisitEngland from VisitBritain, and James Berresford stepped down in early January as chief executive of VisitEngland. Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, will take on the new role of director, England, from February 3 (see p2). The BTA said "the underlying principles are to ensure that both Britain and England activity is focused and aligned, redeploying resources and driving efficiencies to invest in front-line activities". It added that there have been changes in markets and in the way consumers book their travel and consume their media. BTA chief executive, Sally Balcombe (pictured above), said: "With a good settlement and clear organisational focus, we have an opportunity to deliver tourism growth across the nations of Britain and for the English regions. I look forward to starting this process with the regional engagement programme for the Discover England Fund which I will be leading in the coming weeks." VisitBritain will invest more in its international network, restructuring into four consolidated hubs with more senior people employed at the hubs. VisitEngland's focus will be on the development and delivery of the Discover England Fund. The BTA said this activity will also benefit the domestic industry by "building engagement and partnerships between and across regions and developing product that will be attractive to both domestic and international markets". The authority added: "Digital will be at the heart of marketing, focusing on content creation, curation and distribution for England and Britain." Furthermore, business visits and events are to become a priority for VisitEngland and VisitBritain, which will both be on the newly formed cross- government Business Visits and Events Board. A 'HIT LIST' of regulations that are a burden on tourism is being drawn up, following the latest Tourism Industry Council meeting. Co-chaired by tourism minister Tracey Crouch and Simon Vincent, Hilton Worldwide EMEA president, the council acts as a dialogue between ministers and industry. Kurt Janson, Tourism Alliance policy director, said: "The Tourism Industry Council meeting was very positive, with considerable desire from the minister to address a number of the key barriers facing businesses. Two issues considered in detail were increasing skills within the sector by finding ways for more people to gain apprenticeships in tourism, and reducing the regulatory burden. "To help solve these problems, Tourism trade teams up to tackle red tape People 1st is developing a trial apprenticeship scheme for tourism businesses while a council sub- group is now developing a 'hit-list' of legislation for the government's consideration." This list will be considered by the Inter-Ministerial Group which comprises ministers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and other departments which affect travel and tourism. Crouch said: "Attracting and keeping talent in the tourism sector is a key part of our vision for growing the industry. "This includes how we can make seasonal tourism apprenticeships work better, which is why the issue was top of the agenda." She also outlined the government's merging of VisitEngland into VisitBritain and said regional meetings will discuss the implementation of the new £40 million Discover England Fund. Deirdre Wells, UKinbound chief executive, commented: "I was pleased at how focused the discussion was and the weight of the items covered. "There is disappointment of the lack of a decision on the Davies Commission. However, I was pleased that factors such as surface connectivity and pricing structures are still in question and we must not lose sight of the developments for on-the-ground connectivity, which is of utmost importance for the inbound tourism industry in particular." The Tourism Industry Council will meet again in May. LONDON LIGHTS THE WAY... More than a million people attended London's Lumiere Festival in January. The news comes as data from the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey reveal a record number of people visited in the third quarter of last year (see p10). Redundancies loom as BTA restructures

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