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tOuriSm ONS reports inbound growth

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has reported that the total number of vis- itors by overseas residents to the UK grew by 2 per cent in the year to November 2011. Visitor numbers from other

parts of the world and North America increased by 10 per cent and 6 per cent respec- tively, although European visitor numbers remained broadly flat. However, there was a 1 per cent drop in the estimated overseas visitor numbers for the three months ending November 2011, com- pared with figures for the previous quarter. Meanwhile, statistics have shown an 8 per

cent increase in visitor numbers to Scotland in the first nine months of the year, while expen- diture for the period was up 11 per cent. Te domestic market generated a 10 per cent increase for the Scottish market, although

Time for the tourism sector to deliver

Kurt JANSON is policy director of Tourism Alliance

O More overseas residents came to the UK in the year to November 2011

there was a 4 per cent decline in the number of overseas visitors despite an 18 per cent increase from North America. Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Tese figures are an excellent demonstration of the resilience of Scotland’s tourism indus- try.” Details:

Further details of GREAT campaign revealed

Te government has announced further details of how it plans to capitalise on the potential of the 2012 Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee through the GREAT campaign. A number of government and non-govern- ment agencies have been brought together as

part of the campaign focussing on nine target countries and 17 key cities across the world. Launch events are planned for locations

such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Delhi, India. Target countries include China, Germany and Australia. Read more:

Tourism Alliance unveils new president

Tourism Alliance has unveiled Sir David Michels – the presi- dent of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and a for- mer group chief executive at Hilton International – as the organisation’s new president. In addition to his role with

the BHA, the hospitality sec- tor veteran is also a board member at Strategic Hotels and Resorts and Jumeirah Hotels, while also chairing London and Capital. Sir David said of his latest

appointment: “Te govern- ment has rightly identified tourism as one of the few industries that can quickly provide much needed growth and employment. “Our task will be to ensure that this acknowledgement is translated into policies

© CYBERTREK 2012 Sir David will lead the Tourism Alliance at a crucial time for the sector

that make the UK a more competitive tour- ism destination.” Sir David was knighted in 2006 for his ser- vices to the hospitality and catering sector.

Twitter: @leisureopps

ne of the main areas in which the Tourism Alliance has been campaigning for the last 5 years is for the government to

increase funding for the national tourism boards – VisitBritain and VisitEngland. While most other Government agencies

benefitted from increased public funding under the previous government (DCMS funding as a whole increased by more than 65 per cent between 2000 and 2007), there was no increase in the tourism budget. With the economic downturn, the bud-

get for VisitBritain and VisitEngland was cut by more than 30 per cent, meaning that since 2000 the government funding fell by more than 60 per cent in real terms. However, in the last few months there has been a significant reversal in approach. First, VisitEngland has received £3m

of unspent Olympic funding in order to boost domestic tourism and maximise the Olympic legacy. VisitBritain was then handed £27m of the £39m to be invested in the GREAT campaign, which will be used to attract 4.6 million more visitors from UK’s most important existing markets and emerging ones, such as China and India. In addition to these direct allocations, a

further £19.8m has been allocated through VisitEngland for regional tourism develop- ment as part of the Regional Growth Fund bidding process, making the total invest- ment in tourism over the last three months just under £50m. While this is extremely welcome, they are only one-off allocations rather than additions to annual grants. Tis means the government will only

consider further grants if VisitBritain and VisitEngland campaigns are shown to be successful. And to be successful, the indus- try needs to engage with the campaigns, which both rely on the private sector for funding, product offers and promotion if they are to achieve the targets set in terms of revenue growth and employment. Tis is the challenge to the industry. If it

wants the government to allocate funding to the national tourism boards in future, it must help make the VisitBritain and VisitEngland campaigns a success now.

Read Leisure Opportunities online: 13

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