TA Weekly Update (2Feb2023) + Other Updates: EIF agrees to over £83,000 in grants

TA Weekly Update (2 February 2023): Govt response to DCMS Committee report published; Welsh Committee take evidence on tourism in Wales; Mayor joins calls for VAT reclaim scheme…

  1. Government response to DCMS Committee’s Promoting Britain Abroad report
  2. HoC Welsh Affairs Committee hears evidence on ‘Wales as a Global Tourist Destination’
  3. IPS Q3 2022 inbound stats
  4. Coastal inequalities report published
  5. 10-12 year olds to be able to use passport e-gates in temporary trial
  6. Mayor of London joins call for VAT reclaim scheme
  7. HoC BEIS Committee looks into energy price support

Government response to DCMS Committee’s Promoting Britain Abroad report

The Government response to the Commons DCMS Committee’s report into “Promoting Britain Abroad” has been published today.

You can read the Government’s response to the Committee’s recommendations here.

You can also read the Committee’s initial report, published in October 2022 here.

Both reports touch on a number of key policy areas for the Tourism Alliance, and the tourism industry, including visas and the border; youth and student travel; boosting international marketing; VAT reclaim; and DMO reform.

Based on the somewhat disappointing response from the Government on many of these issues, we have a lot of work ahead to persuade the Government of the benefits of some of the policy changes we wish to see.

HoC Welsh Affairs Committee hears evidence on ‘Wales as a Global Tourist Destination’

The House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee are currently engaged in an inquiry into ‘Wales as a Global Tourist Destination’.

This week the Committee took oral evidence from Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government; as well as the UK Tourism Minister, Stuart Andrew MP; and Patricia Yates from VisitBritain.

You can rewatch the evidence session here.

There were a number of interesting exchanges, not least on ‘tourism tax’. Mr Gething conceded that the Welsh Government’s policy for a tourism levy was not popular with the tourism industry in Wales, but that he was committed to implementing it anyway, even before the Government has formally responded to the public consultation on it which closed in December. In contrast, Mr Andrew confirmed that the UK Government has no such plans to implement a tourism tax in England and conceded that tax levels, including APD, here are already higher than in many of our competitor markets.

Other UK-wide issues such as visa and border policy were also discussed.

IPS Q3 2022 inbound stats

ONS and VB have published 2022 Q3 data from the International Passenger Survey (IPS).

The key figure is there were 9.9 million inbound visits to the UK which is down 16% compared to Q3 2019 but that there has been growth quarter-on-quarter throughout 2022.

Richard Nicholls, Head of Research and Forecasting from VisitBritain will be a key presenter at our upcoming Tourism Insights Conference where he will draw on these and many other data sets to give us a view about where we are with tourism recovery. If you have not already done so, book your place now, and also secure your place at our annual Parliamentary Reception, both taking place on 23rd March.

Coastal inequalities report published

Coastal communities need additional support to overcome decades of inequality according to a new report commissioned by a number of coastal groups, including TA member, National Coastal Tourism Academy, and reported by the BBC.

You can access the full report here.

There are many implications for tourism including the desire to find ways of widening the traditional tourist season for seaside destinations.

10-12 year olds to be able to use passport e-gates in temporary trial

The Border Force Director General announced this week that there will be a trial at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports to allow children aged 10 and upwards to use e-gates. Currently, only children 12 and above may use the gates, with others directed with their families to traditional staffed desks. This would reduce the numbers in queues for those desks. If the trial is a success there is a hope – but no pledge – to roll this out more widely in time for the summer season.

Mayor of London joins call for VAT reclaim scheme

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has joined calls from the tourism and retail industry, the Tourism Alliance, and others to reinstate the VAT reclaim.

We have submitted the view to the Treasury in advance of the upcoming budget that the Office of Budget Responsibility ought to look at this policy in light of analysis undertaken by Oxford Economics which says that, far from costing the Treasury, such a VAT reclaim scheme for international visitors, would end up netting the Government £350m a year in increased revenue.

BEIS Committee looks into energy price support

The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee took oral evidence this week from business and civic groups into energy price support and the impact of the energy crisis on business. Kate Nicholls from TA Member, UKHospitality, gave evidence as part of that inquiry and highlighted the real life, on-the-ground, impact that these energy prices are having to businesses in the sector, which includes large numbers of business failures.

You can watch the evidence session here.

EIF agrees to over £83,000 in grants

Purple Guide Updates The Events Industry Forum has agreed to provide over £83,000 in Purple Guide grants for four projects within the outdoor events industry, taking the total in EIF Grants to over £196,000 since EIF was established in 2014.
Those receiving grants are: Vision 2025 – to help fund the development of the Green Events Code. Attitude is Everything – to provide training to help make smaller events more accessible to disabled audiences. The Loop – to support their work in reducing the harm caused by drugs at outdoor events. Leeds Beckett University – for research and the development of an Outdoor Events Industry Career Guide Funding for these grants is generated from sales of the Purple Guide which the Forum manages on a non-for-profit basis. The next round of grant applications will be considered in March.   A condition of the grants is that they must be of benefit to the wider outdoor events industry.
A grant application form can be found on the Forum’s website at www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk  
The deadline for receiving applications is 1st March  2023. For further information please contact:
Jim Winship
The Events Industry Forum
Mobile: 07850 104034
Email: jim@tesa.org.uk   The Events Industry Forum (EIF) provides an informal meeting point for trade bodies and similar organisations in the outdoor events industry. 
The group usually meets twice a year to share information and discuss issues of common interest. 
Currently, 26 organisations support the EIF.   The Forum, under EIF Limited, also publishes the Purple Guide on a not-for-profit basis.
  Member Organisations

Association of Circus Proprietors
Association of Festival Organisers
Association of Independent Festivals
Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations
Association of Stage Pyrotechnics
British Air Display Association
British Arts Festivals Association
British Pyrotechnists Association
Business Visits and Events Partnership
Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity
Event Hire Association
Event Supplier and Services Association
Institution of Occupational Safety & Health
Local Authority Event Organisers’ Group
Made Up Textiles Association Major Events International
Nationwide Caterers’ Association
National Police Chief’s Council
National Traction Engine Trust
Outdoor Arts UK
Production Services Association
Portable Sanitation Europe
Professional Lighting & Sound Association
Rugby Football Union
Showman’s Guild of GB
The Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain
The Concert Promoters Association
The Event Services Association
The National Centre for Resilience Learning and Development (EPC)
The Showmen’s Guild of GB
The UK Crowd Management Association
Circus Proprietors