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Tourism industry launches strategy to boost growth post-Brexit

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The Tourism Sector Deal – a strategic plan developed by a consortium of leading tourism organisations – has been launched to help grow tourism in the UK post-Brexit.

The Tourism Industry Council's (TIC) strategy centres on four key 'asks': attracting talent and skills; extending the seasons; improving connectivity through visas; and introducing 'Tourism Zones' with special measures.

The deal, signed off by the TIC at 5.30pm today (4 October), will now be negotiated with government ministers over the coming month with the aim of reaching agreement by November.

TIC member and director of the Tourism Alliance Kurt Janson told Attractions Management: “This deal is to help businesses with the challenges they will face following Brexit.

“We want to address the four key issues in the deal so our industry can continue to grow and prosper post-Brexit.”

Speaking at the National Conference for Visitor Attractions (VAC) in London, Janson said the plan includes figures from VisitBritain showing the benefits the deal would bring, such as increasing employment and productivity.

The Tourism Industry Deal is asking for:

1. Skills:

A 10-year plan to get people into the industry. The industry wants to provide good career opportunities and growth into the future, whether that's getting people to return to work in the sector or attracting new talent and skills.

2. Productivity: Extending the season for businesses. The deal asks government to consider what it can do to support people with events throughout the year, so they can build up business in the shoulder seasons.

3. Connectivity:

The deal asks firstly that the existing visitor visa trial in China is expanded, with visa length increasing from two to 10 years (in maximum spells of six months, as present), to encourage visitors to make multiple trips. It also asks for the deal to extend to India.

Secondly, it asks for the introduction of ETAs (electronic travel authorisations) for non-EU, non-visa nationals post-Brexit. Rather than create another obstacle to visiting the UK, this aims to boost visitors by offering a quicker route through airports, allowing use of existing e-ticket routes, which aim for a 25-minute wait time, rather than the average 90 minutes. It could also be made available to high net-worth individuals.

4. Tourism Zones: Targets underperforming areas with special measures to boost growth. Although details are yet to be confirmed, this aims to kickstart tourism in areas such as seaside towns and their guest houses using a similar model to Enterprise Zones.

The Tourism Industry Council is a collaboration between government and the tourism industry, focusing on improving the tourism sector in areas including employment, transport and deregulation.

The council is co-chaired by John Glen, minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism and Simon Vincent, president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide. The council's members include Visit England's Andrew Stokes, ALVA's Bernard Donoghue and Airbnb's James McClure among others.

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The Tourism Sector Deal – a strategic plan developed by a consortium of leading tourism organisations – has been launched to help grow tourism in the UK post-Brexit.