REGIONAL AND SECTORAL VARIATION
26. The above discussion offers a very broad analysis
of the situation. In reality, there are wide variations in how
the industry is performing. For example, the large cities, in
particular London, are enjoying strong tourism growth,
while many of the traditional seaside resorts are struggling to
continue to attract visitors (this latter point is discussed in
more detail in Chapter 4: Sea Change Fund).
Our inquiry found evidence of particular sectors of the industry
that are also enjoying successful periods; budget hotels, farm
tourism and the heritage sector are noteworthy examples. There
are other examples, we are sure, but there are two particular
success stories we wish to highlight: the devolved administrations
of Scotland, Wales and London, and business tourism.
27. There has been strong growth in Scotland, Wales
and London, and the tourism agencies for these areas told the
Committee that they were optimistic about future prospects.
Responsibility for tourism in Scotland, Wales and London is a
devolved matter, a distinction not lost on VisitLondon. It told
the Committee about the transformation of the city's tourism economy
since the devolution of statutory responsibility for tourism to
the London Development Agency (LDA) in 2000:
"Wherever tourism responsibility has been
devolved, the industry and sector in those areas has seen significant
benefits in terms of commitment, funding and opportunities through
the new devolved administration".
The Mayor's Office reports that since the devolution
of responsibility to the LDA, resourcing for the industry has
increased in order to adequately reflect the value of the sector
to the London economy.
28. It cannot be said that all sectors of the UK
tourism industry are under-achieving. For instance, the number
of business trips to UK destinations has increased by 53% in the
last decade. International
business visitors now contribute more than £4 billion to
the British economy each year. Indeed, the business tourism sector
generates 27% of all expenditure by overseas visitors, despite
accounting for less than 5% of VisitBritain's international marketing
budget. Moreover, 40% of business visitors subsequently return
to the UK with their families as leisure visitors.
We heard about the growing success of the sector first hand when
we visited the Riviera International Conference Centre during
our visit to Torbay. The Centre estimates that it currently generates
over £9 million for the local economy and it believes that
there are "great opportunities for further growth".
29. Business tourism is also expected to be one of
the major beneficiaries of the London 2012 Games. DCMS's tourism
strategy for 2012, Winning, states that:
"The 2012 Games provide an opportunity for
us to permanently establish ourselves as the envy of our international
competitors by providing new facilities, promoting our best existing
facilities and upgrading those that need improvement".
To this end, the Business Tourism Partnership is
calling for an international convention facility capable of holding
5,000 delegates to be built in Central London, in time for the