Cameron unveils 5-point plan to tempt tourists beyond London
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Cameron unveils 5-point plan to tempt tourists beyond London

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Prime Minister David Cameron has unveiled the latest strategy to entice UK visitors beyond London and boost regional tourism in the form of a five-point plan.

Policymakers and tourism representatives have long sought to address the fact that London accounts for more than half of the UK’s inbound tourism visits and nominal spend. Cameron’s latest announcement comes as the Conservative government seeks to make good on its pledge to create a ‘northern powerhouse’ and rebalance the economy.

As part of the strategy, a new inter-ministerial group will be formed to co-ordinate and align action across government to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of Britain.

The group, headed by culture secretary John Whittingdale, and including ministers from across government, will focus on key areas such as fostering greater cross-sector collaboration, reforming regulation to ensure competitiveness and boosting links with the transport sector to improve travel links outside of the capital.

"Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London,” said Cameron. “But Britain has so much more to offer, from the Cornish Riviera to the Scottish Highlands and everything in between.”

“Tourism supports almost one in 10 jobs in the UK and we want to rebalance the economy to make sure this boost is felt right across the country.”

The announcement was warmly received by tourism bodies VisitEngland and VisitBritain, while British hospitality Association CEO Ufi Ibrahim hailed the move as “truly a watershed moment for the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Meanwhile, Tourism Alliance director Kurt Janson said the establishment of an inter-ministerial group on tourism could prove a big step forward in helping to maximise growth and employment opportunities, but warned that this can only be achieved if due focus is given to areas where the UK lags behind rival tourism destinations.

“With the government focusing on improving business competitiveness in order to drive export earnings, regional growth and youth employment, the establishment of this group is timely and an indication of the growing recognition across Whitehall of the importance of this sector to the economy,” said Janson.

“However, to be effective, this group must tackle the key areas where the UK tourism industry is internationally uncompetitive such as APD, VAT and visas and resolve issues such as sub-national tourism structures and over regulation.”

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