Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport
1. The Department for Culture, Media and
Sport has overall responsibility for the tourism industry within
England and for incoming tourism to Britain. This paper explains
the work that the Government has done, in conjuction with other
national and regional bodies, to provide information on and promote
the opportunities for tourism during the outbreak of Foot and
2. In responding to Foot and Mouth, the
Department has worked in partnership with the other government
departments, principally MAFF, DETR and the Foreign Office, with
tourist boards (the British Tourist Authority (BTA), the English
Tourism Council (ETC) and regional tourist boards (RTBs)), and
the representatives of the wider tourism industry.
3. The roles, responsibilities of these
bodies and the mechanism for interaction between them are set
out in paragraph 19 below. The Committee will also have received
evidence from many of them, and this memorandum therefore focuses
on the activities of the Government, and of the DCMS in particular.
4. Expenditure by tourists in the UK currently
amounts to some £64 billion per annum and some 1.8 million
people are employed in tourism-related industries. It is composed
of 127,000 businesses (not including solely self-employed businesses).
Rural tourism in England is worth £12 billion, supports 380,000
jobs and 25,000 businesses. It must therefore be supported through
the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. However, it has been equally
important, for the sake of both tourism and agriculture and all
those employed in them, that nothing is done to exacerbate the
scale of the disease, and thus the crisis itself.
5. The Government's objective throughout
has been to protect the tourism industry from the effects of Foot
and Mouth as far as possible, without causing any undue risk to
livestock. Strategies for the short-, medium- and long-term recovery
of the industry have been developed, and are being reviewed regularly
in light of the development of the disease.
6. DCMS has developed and published a National
Tourism Recovery Strategy, which is enclosed with this memorandum.
The strategy is intended to be a living document, the details
being updated as and when new initiatives are developed, and made
available on the Department's website, www.culture.gov.uk.
7. The strategy has five main aims:
(1.) to provide facts, information and reassurance:
a clear picture for the public of what's open and what you can
and cannot do in the countryside;
(2.) to open up attractions and footpaths;
(3.) to help affected businesses;
(4.) to reinforce the message at home and
overseas that Britain is open for business and that it is OK in
the UK; and
(5.) to work together across Government,
with the tourism industry and at local and regional levels to
find solutions to the problems facing the industry.
8. The Strategy outlines the measures that
have been or will be taken in some detail, but the most important
initiatives on tourism information and promotion from points 1,
2, 4 and 5 are listed here.
9. The widespread coverage of the foot and
mouth outbreak by British and overseas media has left many potential
visitors uncertain about the extent to which the British countryside
and its attractions are open; and about the safety of travelling
to and around the country. The Government's aim has therefore
been to provide potential visitors with a consistent and comprehensive
picture of what is open, and a clear list of dos and don'ts; and
to provide businesses in the tourism industy with information
on, for example, the steps they should take to minimise the risk
of spreading foot and mouth disease and on the circumstances in
which they should or should not open for business.
Section 1 of the Strategy sets out a range of
initiatives designed to meet this need, including:
www.openbritain.gov.uk shows what's happening/open.
www.countryside.gov.uk has information on what/where
footpaths are open.
An England Visitor Hotline has been set up by
the ETC and at its peak was handling an average of 600 calls each
Regional call centres have been set up by all
Regional Tourist Boards.
Overseas embassies, BTA overseas offices and
the British Council are providing reassurance and up-to-date information
to potential visitors.
At regional and local levels, a combination
of leaflet and web information has been issued and is regularly
updated by a wide variety of organisations, including Regional
Tourist Boards and Trade Associations. About two million low cost
public information leaflets have been distributed that provide
detailed local information for visitors.
Guidance has been sent by the Government to
tourist attractions, setting out the steps that should be taken
to minimise the risk of spreading the disease.
The Government has provided guidance for those
staging events with a large number of spectators.
The ETC has issued guidance for accommodation
providers; and has set out answers to some of the most frequently
asked consumer questions on its website.
The BTA has issued guidance to the overseas
10. In the early stages of the foot and
mouth outbreak many visitor attractions and footpaths were closed
to the public for precautionary reasons, while national restrictions
on the movement of animals were in place and the way the outbreak
had occurred and spread was assessed. While there are clear reasons
for some attractions and footpaths remaining closed, such as the
protection of livestock that would come into direct contact with
visitors, or the location of an attraction on infected premises,
many can and are being reopened. To facilitate this, the Government
has issued guidance to local authorities and others on access
to the countryside and on the opening up of rights of way. As
more attractions and rights of way have opened, a series of measures
have been taken to make the public aware of the range of attractions
available and to encourage them to visit. For example:
DETR has issued guidance to local
authorities on opening up public rights of way, and MAFF has issued
guidance to the public on how to avoid spreading the disease.
The ETC has launched a promotional
campaign that aims to minimise the short-term damage being done
to local economies by encouraging people within England to take
short holidays and day trips over the spring and early summer
period, especially the Easter and May Bank Holidays.
The BTA and the ETC plan to market,
principally via their websites, any specific and/or localised
schemes of special/discount offers that tourist operators and
attractions may wish to promote over the early summer period.
11. As the outbreak of foot and mouth disease
is brought under control and increasingly confined to fewer locations,
and the number of daily cases is significantly reduced, it will
be possible to begin a more proactive campaign to encourage visitors
from abroad. In the short term, however, the most urgent need
has been to correct current misperceptions especially those of
overseas citizens whose desire to visit Britain has been seriously
affected by a series of news bulletins featuring pictures of burning
pyres. Within the UK the approach is slightly different. We can
take action now to promote to the British public the many opportunities
for travel and leisure. Although trade is down overall, the first
stage of the campaign by Government Ministers and the paid advertising
by the ETC already seems to have had some success, with Easter
performance better than feared.
12. The Government is monitoring very closely
the effect of the outbreak on British tourism. £35.5 million
of public expenditure had already been allocated for the BTA for
expenditure in the year just starting, and £10 million for
the ETC. Ministers have commissioned outline plans for proactive
work by the tourist boards in the light of the outbreak. These
are the plans which have been referred to publicly by the BTA
and the ETC. The immediate work proposed in those plans has been
funded with additional public expenditure within the terms of
the exisitng Vote. On 6 April, DCMS announced £6 million
of additional funding for the promotion of tourism. £3.8
million was provided to the ETC for domestic advertising and PR
(to be delivered at national and regional level) and £2.2
million was given to the BTA for overseas promotions. The full
plan of work is proposed to take place over many months. In the
view of the Department, only some of the proposals can properly
be decided on in the short term and exactly what is done in the
longer term will depend partly on the course the outbreak takes.
Already the advice from the tourist boards, and which lies behind
the plans, is quite properly developing and changing. For example
as a result of the World Travel Leaders' Summit last week, and
the latest reports from overseas, the BTA have been asked to look
again at what might be done in the shorter term to promote the
summer season with trade partners and repeat customers and to
estimate the cost of that.
13. The BTA has developed a three step strategy.
I In the short term, concentrate on providing
accurate information and reassurance, dispelling misconceptions
about the disease and letting people know how much there is to
see and do here.
II When the hysteria has been calmed, increase
tactical promotion of Britain, working with commercial partners
to encourage short-term visits.
III When FMD has abated, launch a global
campaign to re-brand and re-market Britain and ensure long-term
recovery of our tourist industry.
14. As part of step 1, British Embassies
are working hard to counter myth and overreaction in the media
overseas. The Foreign Office has also been feeding TV coverage
and news stories to the foreign media, both in London and overseas,
and has set out in more detail the action it has been taking in
a separate memorandum submitted to the Committee.
15. Ministers have made a series of overseas
visits designed to reassure potential visitors and counter myth.
For example, Janet Anderson visited New York with industry representatives
as soon as it became clear how negative were the reports in the
US and the calls received in the BTA offices there. She gave television
and radio interviews and met trade and trade press representatives.
Chris Smith is visiting Canada and George Foulkes will soon visit
Belgium, with similar plans in mind. Brian Wilson has briefed
Ambassadors from the important tourist markets. The visits are
being co-ordinated in conjunction with overseas embassies and
BTA overseas offices, and will be tailored to the relevant markets.
Other Ministers on other business overseas have also made time
during their visits to help promote tourism to Britain.
16. The World Travel Leaders' Summit, 17-20
April, enabled both information-giving and PR opportunities. The
BTA and embassies abroad are now working to ensure the maximum
17. In England, a more proactive media strategy
is already being pursued whilst the disease is in the headlines.
The ETC directed a major promotional campaign at families over
Easter, and is due to expand its activity in advance of the two
May Bank holidays, targeting appropriate market segments. Ministers,
in travelling around the country, have been active in support
of the ETC's campaign.
18. Since the outbreak of foot and mouth
many Government departments and other agencies have been battling
to counteract its effect on tourism. Each has done significant
work but a co-ordinated strategy has been needed. A number of
inter-agency groups have thus been established to promote a co-ordinated
campaign of action as described in Section 5 of the Strategy,
Rural Economy Task Forceset
up by DETR, this body is at the centre of the attempt to co-ordinate
the response to Foot and Mouth across Government. Tourism is represented
by ETC, BTA and BHA, as well as Janet Anderson.
FMD Tourism Summitconvened
by Ministers in DCMS on an ad hoc basis to canvass opinion
from the highest levels of the industry, the first Summit fed
into the Rural Task Force's first announcement, and the second
played a key role in developing the National Tourist Recovery
ETC Tourism Cabineta
weekly meeting of representatives from Government and industry
that monitors the situation on the ground.
BTA British Tourism Development
Committeeequivalent to the Tourism Cabinet, co-ordinating
Cross-Government Tourism Information
Groupplans promotional activity, and links into the
National Communications Centre. Composed of representatives from,
for example, DCMS, FCO, BTA, ETC and English Heritage.
Tourist Boards have set up their own forums to provide a local
19. Foot and Mouth strategy is co-ordinated
at the centre of Government by the Cabinet Office Briefing Room
(COBR) meetings that take place every morning, and by the News
Co-ordination Centre in the Cabinet Office, both of which involve
a wide range of Government departments. On tourism promotion and
information DCMS has mainly been working with:
MAFFwho have responsibility
for offering guidance to the public on the risks of spreading
DETRwho have responsibility
for opening footpaths and waterways and who co-ordinated the Rural
FCOwho have been working in
co-operation with BTA to promote tourism to Britain.
BTAa Non-Departmental Public
Body (NDPB) whose mission is to build the value of inbound tourism
to Britain by: promoting Britain overseas; contributing to the
improvement of the quality and competitiveness of the industry;
providing advice to Government; and working in partnership with
the devolved administrations.
ETCthe national body for tourism
in England, also a NDPB, with a role to drive forward the quality,
competitiveness and wise growth of England's tourism industry
by providing intellegence, setting standards, creating partnerships
(with the industry, Government, trade associations, key agencies
and RTBs) and ensuring coherence.
RTBsall private companies
receiving 10 to 25 per cent of their funds from the ETC with a
brief to complement the ETC's role in delivering national and