Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Fourth Report


4. Our conclusions and recommendations are set out below.

(i)The real challenges for the tourism sector now are further successful recovery and keeping tourism very high on the Government's agenda. (Paragraph 25)
(ii)The evidence presented to us indicates that at present the Government is not providing an adequate support structure for the tourist industry. The Tourism Alliance told us that "the Department takes too much of a laissez faire approach to tourism" and we agree. (Paragraph 41)
(iii)We are concerned at the serious under-funding for tourism in England, and believe there is a need to make increased funding available, especially with the adoption of the additional marketing of England proposed for the new body. (Paragraph 43)
(iv)The amount of money available to the sector, especially in England, from Government is not sufficient to support such a large and diverse industry. The new arrangement seems to be just a more complicated way of cutting the same funding cake. (Paragraph 47)
(v)It seems that the Department has ducked the opportunity to design an appropriate new structure for English tourism taking proper account of the devolution settlement and the need to amend the existing legislative framework. (Paragraph 49)
(vi)We feel that the reinstatement of the marketing function for England is a positive step. However, we believe that England needs its own national tourist board to adequately promote and support tourism within England. (Paragraph 51)
(vii)The Committee agrees that change is needed but believes that the proposed organisation is not the best possible solution, and may not work. (Paragraph 52)
(viii)We feel that it would make better sense for England to have a distinct national tourist board with a marketing function and for each national tourist board in Britain to relate to the BTA in the same way. (Paragraph 53)
(ix)We have serious concerns over the process of consultation which took place in relation to the proposed changes in tourism structure in the UK. The Committee believes that this must be rectified in any further consultations. (Paragraph 56)
(x)We welcome this collaboration [with Scotland and Wales] but questions why these bodies were not included in the consultation process. It concerns us that the merger of the BTA and ETC will compromise the devolution settlement and cause the nations to compete for business rather than co-operate to increase tourism earnings for Britain. (Paragraph 58)
(xi)There is a need for statutory registration of accommodation providers and, not withstanding the devolution settlement, for this to be uniform throughout the UK. (Paragraph 59)
(xii)We recommend that the Department seeks a review of VAT levels on accommodation within Britain. (Paragraph 60)
(xiii)We believe that there should be a major rearrangement of Government departments in order to accommodate the needs of the tourism sector so that it does not get lost in the at present oversized DTI but also so that it is not stranded as the cinderella of Government within DCMS. Tourism needs a proper commitment from the Government commensurate with its economic importance to the country. (Paragraph 65)
(xiv)Tourism must be a priority for the Government. It is one of Britain's largest and fastest growing industries and it should be treated as such. (Paragraph 67)
(xv)We recommend that during a consultation process concerning changes to the tourism structure, DCMS should not ignore the body which had been set up specifically at its own request to liaise with Government as the industry representative. (Paragraph 69)
(xvi)The promotion of tourism is now to be organised under new structures. We would like to believe that these arrangements will improve the promotion of tourism. What we do believe is that there is a danger of further confusion rather than less, that the promotion of tourism in England will have even less cohesion than before, and that the institutions created by the devolution settlement will be tempted to go their own way rather than be coordinated with an unworkable whole. Furthermore, this potentially inoperable structure is made worse by the lack of emphatic, authoritative, and clearly recognisable ministerial leadership. This is not a criticism of the Minister himself but of the impossible task he has been given without the power or resources to go with it. The success of the UK tourism industry is crucial to our cultural and economic well-being. It is time the Government gave tourism the priority it deserves. (Paragraph 72)

Reference to Previous Inquiry

5. This Report is a follow-up to the Fourth Report of the 2000-01 session: Tourism— the Hidden Giant—and Foot and Mouth. The Fourth Report highlighted the need for support and promotion of the tourism industry by Government. The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) belatedly brought tourism to the attention of the media and Whitehall. It highlighted the lack of cohesion and support infrastructure for this extremely diffuse industry. The Committee examined the handling of FMD in relation to its effects on tourism and delved into the structures already in place in the UK for supporting the industry. The Committee recommended increased support in light of FMD and highlighted the real need for a marketing function for England and sustained funding for this through local, regional and national bodies. The earlier findings are set out in Annex 2.

6. The Government response to that Report centred around the increased funding and investment into the tourism support structure since the Foot and Mouth outbreak. It focused specifically on the Rural Business Recovery Fund, of which £2 million had been invested in tourism promotion and development. The Government rejected most of our recommendations, including that of appointing a Minister for tourism and the call for the promotion and marketing of England as a whole; the Government focus at that time was on promotion of the regions and groups of attractions.[1]


The Conduct of the Inquiry

7. We announced this inquiry on 25 July 2002. The inquiry was conceived in two parts. Part I has focused on the structure and strategy of the tourist industry, looking specifically into the role of Government in supporting the sector. Part II will investigate the short and long term effects of 11 September and FMD on the tourism industry, the speed of recovery, and the effectiveness of Government initiatives. This part of the inquiry is scheduled for later this year, 2003.

8. On Thursday 31 October 2002 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced the restructuring of the national organisations that support the tourism sector. The merger of the BTA and the ETC took the organisations themselves as well as the industry by surprise. The timing of this announcement allowed the Committee to question those involved, but also meant that little was known about the logistics of the reorganisation by either the BTA or the ETC. We took oral evidence over four sessions from the English Tourism Council (ETC)[2]; the British Tourist Authority (BTA)[3]; the Tourism Alliance[4]; Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister for Tourism[5]; the Scottish Tourism Forum[6], the Scottish Tourist Board (VisitScotland)[7] and Mr Mike Watson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Scottish Executive; the Welsh Tourist Board (WTB)[8] and the Greater London Authority (GLA)[9]. We also received a range of written evidence from many representatives of businesses throughout the sector, most of which is published along with the oral evidence in Volume II of this Report. We are most grateful to all those who provided evidence for this inquiry.

1   Government Response to the Fourth report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Commons Session 2000-2001 Back

2   Mr Alan Britten, Chairman, and Ms Mary Lynch, Chief Executive, English Tourism Council. Back

3   Mr David Quarmby, Chairman, Mr Tom Wright, Chief Executive, and Mr Bernard Donaghue Head of Government and Corporate Affairs, British Tourist Authority. Back

4   Mr Tony Bird, Director of Membership, CBI, Mr Richard Tobias OBE, Chief Executive, BITOA, Mr Ian Reynolds, Chief Executive, ABTA, Tourism Alliance. Back

5   Accompanied by Mr Brian Leonard, Head of Tourism, Lotteries and Regions Directorate, and Mr Simon Broadley, Head of Tourism Division, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Back

6   Mr Andrew Mathieson, Chairman, Mr Ivan Broussine, Chief Executive, Mr Peter J Taylor, Director, Scottish Tourism Forum. Back

7   Mr Peter Lederer OBE, Chairman, and Mr Philip Riddle, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourist Board (VisitScotland). Back

8   Mr Philip Evans, Chairman, Mr Jonathan Jones, Chief Executive, and Mr Steve Webb, Director of Strategy. Back

9   Mr Tony Winterbottom, Director of Strategy Implementation and Project Development, London Development Agency, and Mr Perry Philips, Senior Economist, GLA Economics Unit, Greater London Authority. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 4 February 2003