Memorandum submitted by Mr David Lang
I welcome the opportunity to express my personal
views (not necessarily the views of my Company) to the Committee.
It is encouraging that an inquiry is being held,
but what a pity it's three months after the first outbreak.
Successive Governments speak in glowing terms
about the importance of the tourism industry to the UK economy,
but continually fail to deliver and to take the industry seriously.
Your own Government does not even recognise the word "Tourism"
in the title of the body responsible for its promotion and development.
The foot and mouth outbreak is a disaster for
the nation, especially for farmers and all those involved in the
rural economy and yet it has taken such a disaster to shake politicians
One would have thought that the debacle of the
"Dome" and the effect on the industry together with
the UK residents' and national/international tourists' poor opinion
of attractions in this country was bad enough without more ridicule
for the industry now.
Action is needed to:
Brand and market England. It cannot
be right to allow the regions to complete with each other. The
ETC does not have a long-term remit to market England (only it
seems at a time of crisis) but perhaps it or another body should.
Why should Scotland and Wales have their own tourist board when
the jewel in the UK crown is England, is once again the poor relation.
Recognise publicly the status of
tourism within Government thinking.
Provide on-going funding to allow
meaningful marketing campaigns to be promoted, not throw in some
money when faced with a crisis. The private sector cannot be expected
to continue to promote our attractions in isolation.
Improve the Government's handling
of PR and the press.
Tourism is not going away, although
visits to the UK are in decline at a time when global and European
tourism is increasingwe are losing market share! There
needs to be a long-term strategy and plan to allow this country
to compete in a global market place and a champion who understands
the industry and is respected within it.
Harmonisation on VAT with Europe
on visitor attractions.
Stir the hearts and minds of the
nation by promoting pride in our country, if UK residents are
apathetic, how can we expect foreign visitors to come.
It has to be accepted by Government
that certain sectors of the industry need financial assistance
now not through unemployment benefit later!
The public both home and abroad are fed up with
platitudes and someone needs to be big enough to admit you got
it wrong and to come up with a series of measures that are meaningful
and provide real help. While one can sympathise with disasters
abroad and support the aid this country provides, what about adopting
the same approach to our own disaster by providing financial aid
to our own people? Millions of pounds have been wasted on a plethora
of failed attractions funded by lottery grants, as this is not
regarded as "public money" perhaps some of it could
be set aside to help the industry now and in the future. I'm convinced
the public would welcome such an initiative.