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INTERVIEW


Jeremy Reed


After 10 years at English Heritage, Jeremy Reed joined BALPPA as chief executive on 1st September. He tells Kathleen Whyman about the challenges facing the industry and how he plans to address them


HOW HAVE YOUR FIRST FEW WEEKS BEEN? Exciting and thought provoking. The BALPPA (British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) team has done a lot of great work. It’s been very benefi cial to pick up on all those strands and understand the background and the basis of them – though having been in the industry, I was very appreciative of them. I’ve been out visiting members and hearing their views on the industry, the economy and the challenges they’re facing. Coming from the heritage attraction


(Above) Jeremy Reed is looking for- ward to meeting BALPPA’s members; (below and far right) Brighton Pier


environment into the private sector, I’ve been pleased to fi nd how friendly, welcom- ing and supportive everyone is. While it’s obviously a commercially competitive busi- ness, they support each other and their industry as a whole. I’ve seen it with vari- ous meetings I’ve attended and that’s been very encouraging. I need to see how I can channel that energy into helping challenge proposed changes in legislation and our government’s understanding of how impor- tant tourism and the attractions industry is to the national economy and job creation.


WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES? There are challenges in a number of areas that BALPPA’s been lobbying over the last few years. These include daylight saving and the unfair VAT on attractions in the UK versus our European counterparts. The VAT issue has been recognised by John Penrose [minister for tourism and heritage]. However, he has fl agged that the govern- ment wants to retain its current tax intake.


We’re looking at the Irish government’s


exercise of reducing VAT on attractions. We’re waiting to see their second quarter fi gures, but there are early signs that the reduced VAT has led to improved trading under the new regime. Another issue is the proposal to scrap amusement machine licensing duty and replace it with machine games duty. This will have a particularly negative impact on coastal family entertain- ment centres. An additional element of the proposal is to make these businesses VAT exempt. Every member I’ve spoken to says this will make it increasingly diffi cult to rein- vest in their attractions because everything will cost an extra 20 per cent. Widening the criteria for HLF funding


is another challenge. There’s a question about sustainability of some of the recently funded HLF-funded projects, so we’ve offered to review business cases. We want to compete within a playing fi eld that’s fair and even and balanced.


“I’m looking to change the unjustifi ed perception that our attractions are overpriced. Compared to a football match or going to the theatre we always come out as great value for money and yet get an unfair press ”


58 Read Attractions Management online attractionsmanagement.com/digital


HOW CAN YOU HELP THEM? By continuing to do what BALPPA has been doing, which is to lobby govern- ment both individually and collectively with our tourism partners via the tourism alliance. People are starting to listen and understand where we’re coming from. But lobbying is a long process. It takes a while to get the message understood and then for it to go through the political machine to actually come up with a piece of legislation that’s in our favour and enables growth.


AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011


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