Tourism Alliance Update – 26th July 2022

  • Public Accounts Committee Report

The Public Accounts Committee published it’s report on the Government’s management of cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are pretty scathing with the Committee concluding:

“government did not track its spending on managing cross-border travel or set clear objectives, so does not know whether the system worked or whether the cost was worth the disruption caused”

               The key recommendations are:

  • The Cabinet Office should set out, as part of its report capturing lessons learned, how it would support industry partners if health measures were reintroduced or required as part of other programmes in future.
  • The Cabinet Office should produce, within six months, guidance to accompany the Orange Book setting out how cross-government portfolios of programmes should aggregate and manage risks at a portfolio-level so that effective whole-system governance processes are in place. To the same timescale, it should review whether other cross-government portfolios have effective whole-system governance and risk management processes in place.
  • The Cabinet Office should set out, as part of its report capturing lessons learned, what it has learned about communicating with the public effectively and what it will do differently in the future

  • Supreme Court Ruling On Holiday Pay

The Supreme Court has published its judgement on Harpur Trust v Brazel, which has significant implications for the hospitality and tourism industry. At a very basic level, this judgement is on how businesses should calculate holiday pay entitlements for part time, part year and zero hours contract staff. Some businesses currently calculate holiday pay on what is generally called a pro-rata basis whereby, any whole week in which no pay was received is included holiday reference period for the calculation of Holiday Pay. Rather, the Supreme Court has rules that businesses should use the Calendar Week Method in which weeks in which when the employee was not working are excluded from this calculation.

UKHospitality is working with its lawyers to develop a FAQ on how businesses should apply this ruling and have kindly offered to share this with Tourism Alliance members so I will send this out when it is produced.

  • Package Travel Regs Guidance Updated

BEIS has produced an updated version of the PTR guidance for businesses. The new version does not change their interpretation of the legislation but it does contain more case studies on what they believe constitutes a package and what doesn’t. However, in doing this, the revised guidance simply highlights some of the absurdities of the PTRs. For example:

  • If a person books a stay at a spa hotel and undertakes treatments when they are there, that is not a package – but if they book the treatments when they book the stay, that is.
  • If a person books a table at the hotel restaurant when they book their stay, this may or may not be a package because no one knows at the time of booking how much they will spend at the restaurant and whether that will exceed 25% of the overall cost of their stay
  • A package is created if the customer thinks that the “other tourism service” that the hotel provides (eg., meal, spa treatment, leisure activity, tickets etc) is an essential component of their trip, regardless of whether it less than 25% of the overall cost of the stay

However, there does appear to be a change in regard to Linked Travel Arrangements with the inclusion of a new Case Study:

  • A traveller books accommodation on a B&B website. Having done that the traveller clicks through to a page on the B&B’s website called “Local Attractions”. Here, the B&B owner has listed a number of recommended local restaurants, attractions, and ‘things to do’. Inspired by this recommendation, the traveller books tickets to the local theme park. This is neither a package nor a LTA as the B&B owner provided a range of useful information (rather than encouraging the traveller to book in a targeted manner).

This is an improvement on BEIS’s previous position which was that the accommodation provider had to provide a comprehensive list of local restaurants, attractions etc and that providing recommended places constituted forming a Linked Travel Arrangement.