Tourism Recovery Plan published

The twin targets of the Recovery Plan are to rebuild domestic back to 2019 levels by 2022 and to rebuild inbound tourism back to 2019 levels by 2023.

While some of the initiatives are not new, among the additional proposals are:

A new Rail Pass

“Working with the Rail Delivery Group, the government and VisitBritain will pursue the development of a new domestic rail tourism product to accelerate the recovery of domestic tourism. Introducing an offer for domestic tourists will encourage sustainable domestic holiday travel and reduce tourism’s reliance on cars. It would build on the success of rail tourism products such as the BritRail pass, which is sold through the VisitBritain Shop and provides international visitors with flexible travel across the network to spread the benefits of tourism across the country, as well as provide discounted attraction entry. The aim is to launch this new domestic rail tourism product later in the year, subject to a successful business case being developed.”

£10m of tourism vouchers

“The British Tourist Authority will deliver a £10 million consumer promotion with The National Lottery to support the domestic tourist industry. The initiative will see vouchers, or similar, made available to National Lottery players that will be redeemable at tourist attractions across the UK. The scheme will open in Autumn 2021 to encourage off-season trips in support of the hard-hit domestic tourism sector. Businesses taking part will need to ensure they are using the We’re Good To Go industry standard. More information will be made available later in the year.”

Consultation on Statutory Registration

“The government will also launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. A Registration Scheme is one potential route through which to create a data-driven approach, creating an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub. Any such scheme could encompass the breadth of the sector, from ‘traditional’ accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs to short term lets in the sharing economy and could be used to underpin future government interventions, for example regarding the regulation of the sharing economy.

“The rise of the sharing economy has and will continue to play an important role in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the UK economy. However, it has created concerns about uneven regulatory requirements and negative impacts on local communities compared to other types of accommodation. The government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector or risking a reduction in supply.”

Sustainable Tourism Plan

“The government will develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan, and put the UK at the forefront of the global discussion on sustainable travel. Domestically, the government will work with industry and the British Tourist Authority to identify achievable ways for the sector to ‘grow back greener’, in ways that will reduce the travel industry’s impact on the natural and built environment, respect local host communities and take their needs into account, and maximise the economic benefits for tourism businesses and their local communities in all regions of the UK. VisitBritain/VisitEngland are working with the tourism sector to celebrate and amplify best practice, and to coordinate an industry response that promotes the UK as a leader in sustainable tourism and puts the UK’s natural landscapes and communities at the heart of the country’s brand proposition.”

Inclusivity roundtables and ambassador

“The Minister for Tourism will hold a series of roundtables with stakeholders from across the tourism industry to better understand the barriers holding back participation in tourism. These roundtables will be themed around issues such as guest accommodation, transportation, attractions, working with customers and skills. The aim is to establish a clear baseline of where the UK is in terms of inclusive tourism, and to come up with a series of concrete actions that the government can pursue to make a meaningful difference, above and beyond existing activity.

“Later this year, the government’s intention is to recruit a new disability and access ambassador for tourism. The selected individual will promote best practice, help identify ongoing barriers and contribute to strategic thinking around how to improve accessibility in the sector.”

Ministerial advocacy for business events

“The UK government will also enhance its Ministerial advocacy programme. The Events Industry Board notes that advocacy is critical to winning international business events.

New ministerial group

To implement that Recovery Plan, a new inter-Ministerial group for tourism is being established. It will be chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and supported by the Minister for Tourism.

The group will meet four times a year and will ensure the plan is delivered. Two new cross-government working groups of lead officials will also be set up underneath this, meeting more regularly and ensuring rapid, effective progress – one to lead on business events, and the other on the tourism sector more broadly. The government will also provide the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee with an annual update on the progress of the plan and the tourism industry more generally as it recovers, with the first update in 2022.

The Tourism Recovery Plan can be read here.