Tourism Alliance Update – 25 May

  • Meeting with Network Rail

First, thank you to everyone that provided comment to me ahead of today’s meeting with Network Rail on the timing of maintenance and upgrading work. It would seem that this meeting came about because the Transport Secretary received considerable adverse feedback on the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester City being played at Wembley on a day when there was maintenance being undertaken on the main line down from the North West. He has therefore asked his Department to report back to him as to how this type of thing can be avoided in future.

So, it was a good opportunity to explain how the current system of scheduling rail work (the whole economy impact approach) always produces a result whereby the work is undertaken on weekends and holidays – the net result being that the UK tourism industry bears a disproportionate amount of the business cost associated with line closures. There was agreement that the approach needed to be changed to take account of the increased ability for people to work at home vs the inability of people to undertake tourism at home, to take into account seasonal demand on particular lines and when significant events take place at particular destinations. The overall agreement was that a “horses for courses” approach was needed as to when it was best to close different lines and much more consultation had to be undertaken with local communities over timings.

They are now going to write up their response to the Transport Secretary and reconvene our group to comment on the draft before it is submitted.

  • Questionnaire on Package Travel Regulations

With the Revision of the Package Travel Regulations being included in the Queen’s Speech, BEIS has been in touch to say that a wider reform of the PTRs is potentially possible and that they are beginning to plan what this might cover to enable the necessary consultation.

They are therefore asking the industry to complete a short survey to help shape the consultation. This provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce messages on how the Regulations need to be amended to support tourism growth.

The survey will be open until 8th June 2022