Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism

Tourism Council to be set up

A ‘Tourism Council’ is to be set up by a partnership of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and representatives of the tourism and hospitality sector. The Council will work to improve skills, increase the quality and quantity of jobs, and boost enterprise across the industry. The Council will be made up of 22 members representing Government, transport, hospitality, entertainment, travel and accommodation. Members so far include VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Whitbread, Easyjet, and John Lewis. Its first meeting was held in July.
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BEFS Small Towns Initiative

Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) has identified small towns as a critical, but too often neglected component of Scotland’s built environment. ‘They are important to Scotland’s identity, its tourism offer and, of course, to the local economies and residents they serve. However, such places also seem to be facing major challenges in terms of retaining their services, as well as their character.’ BEFS has issued reports on small towns throughout Scotland.

For details see here

Heritage, Conservation and Tourism: Who Benefits? Who Pays?

Fri 21 June 2013 10.45am – 4.00pm

Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton, 58-67 Grand Parade BN2 0JY

This seminar will review creative solutions and good practice on funding for conservation of historic environments in a challenging economic climate at different scales: historic towns and quarters, sites and monuments, buildings and attractions.

Historic Towns Forum members are offered a discounted price of £55.00 per person (£70.00 for non-members). The registration fee includes sandwich lunch and refreshments plus free optional heritage walks and visits (evening of Friday 21 June and morning of Saturday 22 June).

For full details and booking form go to:

Seizing the tourism opportunity

A series of 60 recommendations from an independent panel for widespread deregulation of the tourism and hospitality industries was published by DCMS on 24 January.

The report, Smart Regulation and Economic Growth – Seizing the Tourism Opportunity (PDF 689kb) commissioned by Tourism Minister John Penrose was prepared by an expert group under the chairmanship of Alan Parker CBE, President of the British Hospitality Association. It examines how regulations that impact on the tourism industry should be either repealed or revised in order to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

Recommendations from an independent panel for widespread deregulation of the tourism and hospitality industries were published today. The proposals, which cover areas such as planning and use classes regulations, travel insurance, food labelling, health and safety rules, employment restrictions in the tourism sector, licensing and many other areas of concern to the industry, will now be considered across Government.

Alan Parker said:

“Tourism and hospitality are really important to the UK economy.  Together they are one of our largest industries and our third largest export earner.  And it’s also a sector that is ripe for growth, with potential for a further half million jobs to be created by 2020.

“So there is a huge opportunity that everyone in the industry wants to be part of.  Cutting red tape is one easy thing that the Government can do to help bring this growth about.  Bold action from the top can save businesses time and money which, for many of the small and medium size companies in our sector, can represent a make or break solution.”

Tourism Minister John Penrose said:

“I am very grateful to Alan Parker and his taskforce for their work in this area, which complements the work of the Cabinet Office’s Red Tape Challenge last year which consigned 60 out of 102 rules and regulations, identified by the industry, either for amendment or the chop.  Alan Parker’s recommendations are wide-ranging and challenging, which is just as it should be.  Our task in Government now is to look closely at what he has suggested and see what’s feasible and what’s not.

The Prime Minister has said that ‘a regulation should go . . . unless there is a clear and good justification for government being involved.’  This will be our starting point and I look forward to taking this work on.”

Kurt Janson, Policy Director at the Tourism Alliance has told HTF that over the forthcoming year one of their main tasks will be to help ensure that as many as possible of the recommendations are accepted and implemented by the Government.

Read more from the DCMS

Holidays at Home Are GREAT! – a message from VisitEngland CEO

VisitEnglandI want to bring you up to speed with progress on the development and delivery of the “20.12% off” UK domestic campaign.  This is the first ever pan-national marketing campaign designed to encourage more Brits to holiday at home and the VisitEngland team is working to ensure it is a campaign that the whole industry can benefit from. 2012 is an exciting year for the UK, and a great opportunity to showcase our tourism industry.  VisitEngland is asking operators to give our visitors another reason to stay in the UK by encouraging the tourism industry to offer 20.12% off, or the equivalent or an even better value offer.

That means 20.12% off or better on hotel stays, meals, and other visitor experiences. Offers and deals like three nights for the price of two at hotels, or two-for-one entry if at attractions. We also want to feature added-value offers, where the customer pays the usual price but receives something extra for example a free lunch or a special meal for £20.12, a guided city tour, or a free pampering spa add-on.

The “Holidays at home are GREAT” campaign will be the biggest ever domestic marketing campaign launched in the UK.  VisitEngland is inviting industry to submit special offers showing visitors that 2012 is going to be a truly exciting year to be in the UK. All these offers will then be displayed together on the campaign website, to create a ‘one-stop shop’ where visitors can browse and select the offers they like best. On choosing an offer, browsers are taken to the offer supplier’s site to book and buy.  It will always be the responsibility of the participating supplier to create and apply terms and conditions to each offer. Once an offer is taken up by a customer, the contract will be between the customer and the supplier.

As you know this campaign has been championed by our Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, who I have had the pleasure of accompanying during his “tourism road show” around the country.   The offer submissions form is now live and later today the Secretary of State will be issuing a personal invitation to participate in the campaign to the 50,000 operators registered on the VisitEngland database.

James Berresford
CEO, VisitEngland
February 2012

Local MPs invited to visit on Tourism Constituency Day 16 March

As part of the English Tourism Week events, the annual Tourism Constituency Day will be held on 16thMarch 2012.

This event is an opportunity for tourism businesses to invite their local MP to visit their premises in order to gain a better understanding of the benefits that tourism brings to the local economy.

All English MPs have been written to by the ETW chairman informing them of Tourism Constituency Day and asking that they make themselves available to visit local tourism businesses.

We are hoping for a signficant turn-out of MPs on 16 March and suggest in turn that you might invite your local MP to visit your own tourism business.

HTF will also be contributing to English Tourism Week on 16 March when we are holding a National Tourism Conference, Culture-Heritage-Tourism: Developing the Product at Blenheim Palace where we are hoping the local MP will be dropping by to talk to the delegates.  View the programme and book your place

HTF Celebrates 25 years! - Brian Human remembers

1987: Margaret Thatcher is returned to power; Coventry City wins the FA Cup; and the first IKEA opens at Warrington. The UK was a very different place in the year the English Historic Towns Forum was founded; and the Forum is now a different organisation from what was then. As the Historic Towns Forum it now embraces interests in Ireland, Scotland and Wales; historic 'towns' now include places like Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle; twitter, the internet and e-publications have replaced modest paper pamphlets; and then the local authority membership subscription was a bargain at £100 (£230 in today's money).

But the fundamentals have remained remarkably consistent.

In 1987 the Forum's aims included to: 'encourage contact between local authorities'; 'organise seminars and conferences'; 'encourage a corporate, interdisciplinary approach to the management of historic towns'; 'compile and circulate a regular practice digest' (the first one was on 'Shopping in Historic Town Centres', plus ca change; and 'express a collective view on proposals which are likely to affect the interests of our historic towns'. These remain the underpinnings of the aims and activities of the Forum, though there is today a more explicit recognition of the interdependencies between prosperity and the conservation of our heritage. A phrase used regularly by the Forum, 'for prosperity and conservation in historic towns' encapsulates this broader perspective. The HTF has also taken on an international perspective, looking beyond the boundaries of the UK with study tours and the dissemination of European good practice.

Over the 25 years the Forum has focused on and developed approaches addressing a core of key issues affecting historic towns, including, townscape, retail development, destination management, traffic and transport, the public realm and practical heritage conservation. In its publications tackling these issues the Forum has been in the forefront of public policy development, for example:

  • Townscape in Trouble – The Case for Change(1992)
  • Park and Ride Good Practice Guide (1993)
  • Getting it Right – A Guide to Visitor Management in Historic Towns (1994)
  • Traffic in Historic Town Centres (1994)
  • Conservation Area Management (1998)
  • Traffic Demand Management(1999)
  • The Historic Core Zones Report (1999)
  • Manual for Historic Streets (2008)

The Forum continues to promote innovation in these areas and has developed its brief to disseminate good practice in dealing with community engagement, using social media, sustainability and climate change, identity and sense of place, localism and neighbourhood planning, and growth, especially housing, enterprise and prosperity.

The HTF has maintained its importance and relevance by recognising the core, long term concerns for our historic towns as models of sustainable communities, while adapting to and influencing a changing agenda. Like the times, it has changed, but held true to the vision of historic towns as very special places.

Brian Human
January 2012