UKEVENTS UPDATES (13.04.2023) – TA Newsflash (12 LVEPs announced) | TA Weekly Update

TA Newsflash – LVEP announcement

VisitEngland have announced that there have been 12 successful bids to become  Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs), one of the key elements of the DeBois DMO review recommendations.

The successful bids were: Marketing Cheshire Experience Oxfordshire Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Cumbria Tourism Visit West Marketing Manchester Visit Peak District, Derbyshire and Derby Visit Kent Visit Hertfordshire Liverpool City Region Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Congratulations to all, but especially to the first nine on that list who are Tourism Alliance members.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:
“We look forward to working in collaboration with the LVEPs, providing ongoing support including a team of dedicated VisitEngland regional development leads. LVEPs will also have access to resources and guidance from VisitBritain/VisitEngland in areas including product distribution, business support, bidding for funding and marketing.”
You can read the full announcement from VisitEngland here.
These LVEPs join those already announced in conjunction with the Destination Development Partnership pilot in the North East of England.

 Members’ Weekly Update
In this update…13th April 2023
Two important consultations launched
Consultation on statutory registration for short-term lets
Consultation on a new Use Class for short-term lets
Webinar: Port of Dover Briefing on Monday
ICYMI: Guardian editorial on Manchester’s Accommodation BID
Two important consultations launched
You should have received the newsflash from us this morning about the launch of two important consultations.

The first is one we had been expecting and waiting for for some time: the next stage of consultation on a statutory registration scheme for short-term lets in England. The second one is about possible changes to planning law and a possible new Use Class for short-term let properties.
Consultation on statutory registration for short-term lets

We have called for a statutory registration scheme for some time, and so we welcome this next stage consultation. We are pleased to see that the Government is pressing ahead with a registration scheme and has ruled out a more interventionist licensing scheme.

As a reminder, a well-designed registration scheme would encourage compliance with relevant health and safety laws and regulations, signpost operators to best practice and remind them of their legal obligations, ensure that operators provide evidence of their compliance, and provide substantial additional data to relevant authorities about the tourism accommodation landscape.

However, the proposed scheme is not as comprehensive as we would like. As currently outlined there appears to be too many possible gaps left that would not require registration. Hotels, B&Bs (possibly only those with a ‘licence’; the consultation is not clear) and ‘professional providers of self-catering accommodation’ will not be within scope. That last point is confusing, unclear and undefined in the document. Professional self-caterers are some of the strongest proponents of a registration scheme, and the definition of ‘short-term lets’ in the proposal would certainly bring them in scope, so this is an area we have asked for early clarification on from DCMS officials.

A high-level consultation question is whether this scheme should be opt-in by local authorities; opt-in but with a review point when it might be made mandatory nationally; or a national scheme from the beginning. It is our view, as it was of almost everyone at a recent DMCS-held industry roundtable, that this needs to be a national, comprehensive, light-touch registration scheme.

The consultation is open for eight weeks and closes on 7 June 2023. We will be hosting some online discussions and webinars on this consultation in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for invitations to register.

Consultation document:
Consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets in England
Consultation on a new Use Class for short-term lets
Alongside the DCMS-led consultation on statutory registration, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched a consultation to run concurrently on possible changes to planning law.

The proposal is a reaction to the perceived negative effect of the use of housing for tourism accommodation in certain areas  in the country. The consultation refers to the analysis of the previous consultation stating that: ‘many respondents felt that short-term lets had negatively impacted the social dynamics and economic trajectory of local communities, in part by limiting the available housing stock and pricing residents out of the communities.’ 

Currently the Use Class Orders make no distinction between ‘dwellinghouses’ used as primary homes, second homes, or commercial lets. The proposal seeks to include a new use class with the definition:

Use of a dwellinghouse that is not a sole or main residence for temporary sleeping accommodation for the purpose of holiday, leisure, recreation, business or other travel.

Importantly, existing properties should not need to apply for planning permission.

However, alongside this the Government is considering instituting a new permitted development right so that properties could move between the two Use Classes (C3 and C5) without needing planning permission, except where the local authority has applied for an ‘Article 4 direction’. This means that local authorities would essentially have the option of requiring some properties in their area to apply for permission to move between these two Use Classes where it is considered necessary locally. The Government says ‘this should apply to the smallest geographical area possible and could therefore be focussed on those areas or streets that see the highest numbers of short term lets, or individual properties.’

Our immediate reaction to this proposal is as follows:
* Will look at the consultation in detail. We go into it open minded.
* We want tourism to benefit the local economy and local people. Where genuine problems are identified we are willing to look at possible solutions.
* But it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The hotspots the Government talks about are precisely those areas which rely on a strong tourism industry for their local economy. It’s important that tourism accommodation is there to support that visitor economy.
* Planning is a blunt and complex tool and certainly cannot be seen as a panacea to any problems identified.
* We are keen to look at how these planning proposals and the statutory registration scheme policy will interact with each other.
* We are keen to understand how local authorities foresee using these powers, and what kind of area they envisage it applying to.

This consultation also closes on 7 June and there will be much more on this to consider between now and then.
Consultation document:

Introduction of a use class for short term lets and associated permitted development rights
Webinar: Port of Dover Briefing on Monday.

There is still time to register for our webinar taking place this Monday, 17th April at 1400.

The CEO of the Port of Dover, Doug Bannister, will be joining us to give an update and briefing on the
situation at the border there on Monday 17th April at 1400. The session will be chaired by TA Chairman, Tom Jenkins (ETOA) and we’ll also be joined by Joss Croft from UKInbound and Deirdre Wells from Visit Kent.

Dover has obviously been in the news recently because of the long queues to cross the border which has resulted in huge disruption for many travellers, including many school groups, coach parties etc.

Doug, who also serves as Deputy Chair of Visit Kent, will be briefing Tourism Alliance members about what’s happening on the ground, what the root causes are, what the solutions are going to be, and prospects for resolution at this online session.

TA member organisations and your members are welcome to join. 

Please register for this webinar in advance.
ICYMI: Guardian editorial on Manchester’s Accommodation BID
In case you missed it, you might be interested in this piece in the Guardian:

The Guardian view on Manchester’s tourist tax: blazing a trail

Although it was in response to a different article, some social media posts we made are apt in respect of this article too:

1.The Manchester model is *not* a tourism tax. It is an accommodation business improvement district levy and operates very differently. It was subject to a ballot of local businesses who approved it; funds will be ring-fenced to support the visitor economy; it’s time limited and businesses have a say in how the money is spent.

2. Before we start using this BID model as a reason to slap on a tourism tax across the board, we have to remember the context.

3. Accommodation, hospitality and the broader tourism sector are *still recovering* from Covid. DMCS just had to push its target recovery date back by one year. Many businesses are still coping with loan repayments, energy costs, labour shortages etc.

4. ETAs are due to come in from November this year for all non-visa national visitors, with the cost still TBC.

5. The cost of a UK visa  for those who need one are sky high and uncompetitive compared to EU and other countries.

6. We have by far the highest Air Passenger Duty in Europe, and one of the highest in the world. When APD was introduced it £5 for short-haul and £10 for long haul. It now goes up to £202.

7. Where other cities and jurisdictions around the world have instituted an overnight levy their VAT rate for accommodation is usually far lower than ours which is the standard 20% rate.

8. Overall we need to recognise that value that the visitor economy already brings to local destinations and not continue to see visitors solely as a source of revenue.

This is likely to be a key policy area between now and a general election and beyond. And it is likely to be a key topic at our coming Policy Conference on 19th September. Mark your calendars. 
Regsiter for the TA Webinar with Doug Bannister
Tourism Policy Conference 19th September – Save The Date

The joint Tourism Alliance / Tourism Society / British Destinations Tourism Policy Conference will take place on Tuesday 19th September. 

This will be a full-day conference which will focus strongly on policy, rather than the insights focus we had at our recent event.

We will have sessions on important current and live policy areas, speeches from some high-profile politicians and decision-makers, as well as some sessions looking further ahead to policy challenges and opportunities that we may see in the next few years, including the other side of a general election.

Much more detail to come, but for now, just mark Tuesday 19th September in your calendar.
New Tourism Alliance website is on the way – check your member info
We are currently building a brand new Tourism Alliance website which will hopefully be a step change from our current site. We want to feature our members prominently on the new site to show the range and variety of our membership and of the tourism sector generally.

To that end, it would be helpful if Tourism Alliance members could review the information that we currently have about your organisation on there and update as necessary. We will have a paragraph or two as an “About” for each member organisation which should be between 100 and 200 words. Feel free to send any updates to me via
Visa fees frozen

One announcement we have had this week is on visa fees. I am pleased to say that fees have been frozen for the year starting 13th April which means a six month visa remains at £100 and a five year visa at £670. Now, we strongly believe that visa costs are too high, but at least we’re not going to see any further increases this year.

You can access the full table of fees on
Changes to TA emails for non-members

After Easter we will be moving to a slightly different system for our weekly newsletters.

Tourism Alliance members will see no change and will continue to receive this weekly update containing information, news, policy announcements, and will continue to get timely TA Newsflashes when something urgent happens.

Non-member organisations who would qualify for TA membership will no longer receive these weekly emails, but will be instead receive different communications from us which may include items such as invitations to events which are open to non-members, and more general information.

We will ensure that organisations who currently receive all our emails who would not qualify for membership will continue to receive relevant communications from.

This change will not happen immediately, and we will update everyone beforehand, including with a change to our privacy notice so you can opt-out to anything you don’t wish to receive.

If you have any questions about this change please do not hesitate to contact me. And if you’re a non-member organisation who would like to come onboard (or if you’re not sure if you’re already a member, or would qualify for membership), likewise.