In Funding

This week sees the unveiling of the Government's five point plan to boost tourism right across the UK, spreading the benefits of one of the fastest growing sectors beyond the capital and helping to create jobs and rebalance the economy.

A new ministerial group, headed by Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, will coordinate and align action across government to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of what the UK has to offer.

The plan focuses on five key areas:

  • A better coordinated sector - the sector is too fragmented currently so the new plan aims to help local attractions and tourism organisations to collaborate to grow the sector rather than compete
  • Skills and jobs - driving in and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth
  • Common sense regulation - reforming regulation sensibly in order to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors
  • Transport - forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors to travel outside of the capital
  • An improved welcome - delivering a world-class welcome at the Border

The Prime Minister also announced a £1 million ‘Rail for Tourism innovation’ competition, which will call for ideas to transform the travel experience for visitors to the UK and make exploring the UK by rail more attractive to tourists. The competition will be run by the RSSB’s Future Railways Programme, and winners will receive funding to develop their ideas and carry out trials.

The plan and funding announced today is in addition to new funds announced in March to boost tourism in both the South-West and the North. The £5 million fund for the South-West will position the area as a must-see destination, generating an additional £60 million in additional visitor spending, creating up to 1000 jobs and incentivising local partners to work together on improving the experience for visitors to the region. It will also be used to promote the South West in the USA and encourage greater connectivity to the region from the United States.

There is a £10 million fund to support Northern destinations to attract international visitors from around the world and ensure the North is on the map as a top tourist destination - a key part of the plan to build a Northern Powerhouse.

Tourism has grown quickly since the government’s previous tourism strategy in 2011. The direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy in 2014 was almost £60 billion – up a fifth since 2010. Last year, international visitors spent a record £21.8 billion in local economies across the country, with nearly every region seeing a rise in visitor numbers or spend. In 2013, it was estimated that 9% of jobs in the UK were in tourism-related industries and jobs in the sector were growing at almost double the rate of other industries.

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