A new school curriculum in Wales to prepare pupils better for the world of work has been released for consultation until 19 July, it will be ready for schools to use in January 2020 - and all schools will use it from 2022. Visit www.gov.wales/educationischanging for an overview of the changes and business page to hear from Leigh Hughes, CSR Director, Bouygues Construction in UK.See how you can work with schools by visiting www.CareersWales.com.
So how will the new curriculum be good for business? Careers Wales Press Release - 'Employers tell us that they want young people to be ‘work ready’ when they leave education, with skills such as problem solving, team work, and communication skills, as well as good literacy, numeracy and increasingly digital skills. The new curriculum will focus on the ‘purposes’ of education – the qualities we all want to see in our youngsters by the time they reach 16. It will be about creating ‘enterprising, creative contributors’ and ‘ambitious, capable learners…’
In the new curriculum, digital literacy will be a core cross curricular requirement, alongside literacy and numeracy. Broader skills such as resilience, communications and problem solving will help young people apply the knowledge they acquire at school and apply to real life situations. Skills and experiences will become important alongside knowledge, because this goes wider than preparing for exams – it’s also about preparing for the changing work environment and life. Critical thinking and problem-solving, planning and organising, creativity and innovation and personal effectiveness will all be developed.
An understanding of the world of work will begin at an early age. We have consulted on making sure that all children and young people in primary as well as secondary school will be able to learn about careers.Six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ will replace single subjects, and lessons will be more authentic and relate to real life circumstances. For example, teachers might include entrepreneurship as part of Science and Technology or Expressive arts.
And digital skills will be taught across the curriculum from 3 to 16, alongside literacy and numeracy. Qualifications will evolve to respond to the changes, so Qualifications Wales will be consulting on future qualifications in Autumn this year, and it’s possible that they will look quite different, although the GCSE ‘brand’ may be retained when changes arrive in 2025.
What role can business play? Business has an important role to play. Primary and secondary schools will be doing more to make children aware of careers options, so please welcome them for visits that make children more aware of what’s out there. They’ll also be looking for projects that can be used to create real-world learning experiences. As education is changing, businesses must be willing to help it do so'.
The results indicate a largely mixed year, with a higher volume of overnight visitor trips taken in Wales by GB residents, but lower numbers of international visitors. In the twelve months from January to December 2018, there were 10.021 million overnight trips to Wales by GB residents, which was an 11 per cent increase on the same period last year. Expenditure in Wales was £1,853 million an increase on last year by 13.8 percent. There were increases in the levels of overnight holiday trips and increases in visits to friends and relatives and business trips in the twelve months. There has been a slight decrease in the volume and expenditure of Tourism Day trips taken in Wales during 2018 compared to the same period on the previous year, with 95.7 million trips taken and related expenditure of £4 billion.
There were 941,000 trips taken in Wales by international visitors and expenditure of £405 million. This was a decrease in the volume of trips by international visitors to Wales (12.8%), compared to a 3% fall across the UK as a whole. Visitor expenditure increased by 9.7% to £405 million. Trips for all purposes, holidays and visits to friends and relatives and international business trips fell slightly compared to last year.
Report released by the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee – 'Rethinking food in Wales: Food branding and processing'.
The WTA responded and gave evidence before the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee that has helped inform this report and its conclusions. That report with comment from our Chair, Andrew Campbell, who gave evidence before committee has now been released. The report entitled 'Rethinking food in Wales: Food branding and processing' is now available on the Welsh Government site.
This is the Committee’s second report arising from its ongoing inquiry into 'Rethinking food in Wales'. The report sets out the Committee’s views on how the Welsh Government should approach food branding and processing in Wales in the post-Brexit era. It reiterates the need for a new, over-arching food and drink strategy in Wales, which the Committee called for in its first report, Rethinking food in Wales: Public Procurement of Food. The report also explores how food branding and processing in Wales can be strengthened to enable the sector to meet the challenges associated with Brexit.
Mid Wales Tourism is inviting applications /submissions for the Regional Tourism Award. The team at MWT has been working hard over the past few months to get everything in place and are delighted to have achieved an Awards Trust Mark by the Independent Awards Standards Council. This is an accreditation scheme that aims to raise standards across the business awards industry and demonstrates MWT’s commitment to delivering an exceptional awards programme.
In order to provide consistent messaging to businesses, MWT have put together a ''bilingual partners pack' which includes graphics for your social media messages, text, logos, information etc. You can find all promotional material online on www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk/canyouhelp
If you have any questions at all contact...
www.mwtcymru.co.uk | www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign aimed at Welsh holiday and travel businesses on the clarity of their terms and conditions. The ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign is being run in partnership with the lead associations representing the holiday and travel industry, including ABTA – The Travel Association, UKHospitality and the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) amongst others.
As holidaymakers get ready to make the most of the Easter break, the CMA’s campaign is calling on holiday and travel businesses to ‘check in’ and make sure they are using fair terms and conditions in their customer contracts. It also encourages businesses to be upfront and clear with their customers about charges and fees, especially in the event of a customer cancellation.
Under consumer law, businesses may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee to cover their losses, but the amount they keep must be in proportion to what they are losing. Cancellation terms that don’t follow this approach are likely to be unfair and businesses cannot rely on them to resolve claims or disputes with customers.
A national survey of 2,000 people by Ipsos Mori, released by the CMA today, shows what members of the public feel should happen if they have to cancel a trip. Results for Wales show that:
Another example is when a business insists on a large cancellation fee which bears no relation to the actual losses it experiences from the cancellation. A term is more likely to be fair if it clearly explains how a charge reflects what a business will genuinely lose from a cancellation, and the way this charge is calculated is reasonable.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said:
“The CMA’s campaign has followed legislation aimed at providing crucial accuracy and transparency for both businesses and customers. It is vitally important that our customers have full confidence when they make a booking with a hotel, a restaurant, a B&B or any other hospitality business. A clear understanding of terms and conditions can help foster an open and responsive relationship that gives our customers peace of mind and boosts businesses.”
The CMA’s campaign invites Welsh businesses to ‘check-in’ on their terms to make sure they’re being fair to their customers, by using the CMA’s advice to help them review their contracts. A new website (www.gov.uk/fairterms) contains accessible advice and information for businesses on unfair contract terms law and what they can look for when reviewing their terms and conditions. In addition, the CMA has produced detailed guidance to help businesses and their legal teams understand how to apply the law.
1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter, @CMAgovuk, Facebook and LinkedIn.
2. The Consumer Rights Act 2015, in force from 1 October 2015, contains provisions that aim to protect consumers against unfair contract terms and notices. It applies to wording that lays down the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses when entering into agreements with each other. It also applies to consumer notices (often used, for instance, in shops and car parks as well as online).
3. A consumer can challenge an unfair term and seek redress through the courts, if unsatisfied with the business’s response after following its complaints procedures. The CMA, Trading Standards Services and other relevant bodies also have powers to pursue legal action to stop businesses using terms and notices that are unfair. If necessary, this can be achieved by seeking a court order.
4. Consumers who have experienced a problem with a business can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or 03454 040505 for Welsh language speakers. Consumers can also report an issue to their local Trading Standards Office.
5. Enquiries on this press release should be directed to Lauren Broughton – email@example.com / 07725 865063
WTA Chair, Andrew Campbell, attended the recent BTIG meeting held at the VB offices in London. Central to the meeting was discussion around the 2018 ONS figures for overseas visitors to the UK. Overall there were 3% fewer overseas visitors to the UK compared to 2017, representing 1.2 million travellers. Spend was 7% down representing £1.6 billion. Research indicates that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit may be a contributable cause, together with a slowdown in the EU economy. That said, the China market was up 16% and is a continuing “star performer” – providing further evidence as to where future marketing efforts for businesses should be channelled.
Disappointingly, overseas visitor numbers to Wales were 13% down (across all purposes for travel: holiday, business, VFR, miscellaneous) from 2017, although visitor expenditure was 10% up, redressing the 17% downturn in visitor spend experienced during 2017. The statistics raise a concern that during a period of weak UK currency, visitor numbers coming to Wales, not unrealistically, should have been higher. Although many reasons may lie behind this (relating to product or promotion), the WTA has, for the past 12 months, questioned the robustness of research methodology currently employed. In particular the size of the visitor sample being used. It was therefore interesting to note from deliberations yesterday, that due to operational constraints, a smaller sample size was used for the 2018 survey – which might quite possibly have had a bearing on outcomes. If the sample size is down, margins of error can often go up.
Why does this point particularly matter? Quite simply, publication of poor results can create negative perceptions, which in the longer term can affect consumer confidence, adding further competitive pressures to Welsh tourism businesses.
Another hot topic at the meeting was the impact of Brexit upon UK inbound tourism – and recent research undertaken over “Brexit influences” may be accessed through the VistBritain website. Clearly Brexit has created uncertainty within some overseas markets, but VB are taking steps to mitigate pressures. A PR campaign is currently running in Europe which is sending out reassuring messages that, “nothing has changed” and which is further supported by a “Don’t Miss the British Summer” campaign. Commercial activity with existing partners (such as easyJet) are being stepped up – and more supplier content is being added to the website and digital communication platforms.
Presentations were received from VisitBristol (the “Smart City”) about their utilisation of 5G technology through a small number of pilot projects (in conjunction with Bristol University) – and from the Discover England Tourism Exchange GB business to business platform initiative.
Rebecca Pow has replaced Michael Ellis as the Arts, Tourism and Heritage Minister at DCMS as a result of a minor reshuffle following Andrea Leadsom’s resignation from Cabinet. Below is a profile of the new Minister which highlights her areas of interest and where there may be challenges for the tourism industry.
Rebecca Pow went to University of London where she gained a degree in Rural Environment Studies. She started her working career with the NFU before getting into radio and TV focusing on rural issues. She then left ITV to set up her own PR company which focused on rural issues which she ran for 10 years. She entered politics in 2013 and stood for the Taunton Deane constituency in the 2015 election, where she won from the Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne, who had held the seat for 10 years.
Since being in parliament, she has risen steadily while remaining focused on her strengths and interests in rural and environmental issues. Up until her appointment as Minister, she had also been a member of the DCMS Select Committee so she has a reasonable background on the issues facing her in her new role. During the Referendum she voted to remain, but is opposed to uncontrolled immigration. Her concerns with Brexit relate to the impact on the UK’s agricultural industry and whether there would be any watering down of environmental protections.
She has been an active member of a large number of APPGs, again mostly associated with rural and environmental issues including the need for better Broadband in rural areas and improved transport connections. She is also active in campaigning against climate change and was awarded a Green Heart Hero Award by The Climate Coalition last year. This suggests that she may well support domestic tourism over international tourism.
‘Let’s Shape the Future’ - Wales Tourism Alliance Response to Wales Tourism strategy-making for 2020 and beyond
We need a new plan and we support the proposal, albeit a more flexible, dynamic one as we suggest further on. Without a new Development Plan the industry is in danger of losing a sense of direction as various interests start to pursue their own divergent agenda and place in peril the cohesiveness of the sector. The fragmented nature of tourism within Wales needs a mechanism that promotes "togetherness". An annual progress report on progress and targets should be a given, for the industry as a whole.
The Brand-led approach is working. Visit Wales has done a great deal of excellent work over the past ten years to build a genuine quality brand, indeed we have even seen other destinations aping much of the original look and feel of these campaigns. This should be the core of Visit Wales work. It is not something we as a fragmented industry can achieve on a national basis and is a good use of some of the tax that our industry contributes to the Welsh Government via the exchequer.
One thing we would like to see more of is that future campaigns should establish how the use of the brands for the ‘year of…’ campaigns and other work can be more easily accessed and used by businesses, without of course compromising, in areas such as copyright, data protection and the quality of the brand.
It should not be seen as a work plan for Visit Wales. Past plans, whilst released with good intention have rapidly been viewed by the industry as work plans for Visit Wales (and possibly even by VW itself). The Welsh Government holds the resources that underpin the plan and relatively quickly it can become seen by some as simply a means to access funds. The sector needs to clearly understand its role if it is to benefit from being part of it.
As a rule, any new plan should be constructed for easy application, so that the industry can engage whatever the size of the business. With attention paid to ensure that whatever plan is reached enables true sustainable integration across both the industry, wider business community beyond purely ‘tourism’ businesses. Whatever is agreed upon it needs to build on quality assurance whilst taking into account the changing way in which we work as an industry (flexibly, electronically remote and part time). This need to be recognised as a strength not a weaknesses.
We need something more integrated and dynamic. Preferably easy to access on line. That enables engagement, be it in the provision of live data for research purposes, the use of resources such as the material generated from VW Campaign work, tool kits, etc. Much is already available, it just requires reviewing, updating and refitting.
Any plan now needs to be much more flexible and updatable than previously in order to be able to make quick and dynamic shifts to meet the ever changing vagaries of the market given the huge changes in political context, means of communication, consumer demand and increasing environmental awareness.
The OTAs need to figure more prominently in the overall plan. They are without doubt holding much of the tourism asset and not just in Wales. Recent visits to the HQ of Airbnb in London only served to demonstrate to us their potential. We recognise change has occurred beyond anything imagined ten years previous. How we deal with this change is fundamental to everything to do with tourism as present and is possibly the biggest single issue moving forward as an industry. We would like to discuss this further with Visit Wales.
Taxation Policies which promote the Competiveness of the Industry In common with the rest of the UK, the industry in Wales is penalised in comparison with near European countries by the current rate of VAT. The WTA calls upon the Welsh Government to continue to press the UK Government to reduce the rate to a more competitive level for the industry and to increase the levels at which thresholds are set. This needs to be part of the plan as much as marketing initiatives and would truly integrate businesses. There needs to be greater creativity with regard to encouraging new business activity through local tax breaks, particularly for wet weather activity. This should be alluded to in the new plan.
We will though not support a Welsh tourism tax as we do not believe it will be disaggregated for local use or be fair in terms of the businesses that will be targeted. This may mean that Visit Wales moves away from control of funds internally and looks to work more creatively with other funders.
Financial Support for Capital Investment and Product Improvement by Business. The current level of Welsh Government support for capital investment in the industry from all its various support schemes has been running at around £10 million annually. The industry’s capital investment is overwhelmingly supported from its own retained profits and bank borrowing, but innovative new tourism businesses will not get off the ground without some government support. There have been good examples in recent years of such support, modest in scale, being crucial to the success of the development of new tourism businesses. We therefore propose that post Brexit the industry should have a specific allocation of funding linked to the Development Framework to support capital investment and product development in tourism businesses.
The scheme rules should reflect the fact that the industry is mainly composed of micro businesses and SMEs, mostly owner managed. An earmarked, easy to access development tourism fund of double the existing annual spend would not be out of place bearing in mind the £2.7 billion contribution of the industry to GDP and its further growth potential.
However, whilst we still see the need for capital investment, we do understand that public sector resources are set to continue diminishing and that someone has to pay. There needs to be a move toward more creative partnerships based on destination business plans which truly identify the product available (i.e. no of beds; tickets, etc) and establish what is required to build a ‘tourism community’ product and sell it.
Ensuring Key Tourism Infrastructure. We want to see Wales stay abreast of the latest technological advancements, starting with completion of the superfast broadband programme and ensuring its reliability alongside the future introduction of 5G. There is a danger that key tourism infrastructure and services provided by local authorities are disappearing because of financial pressures. In addition the WTA looks to the plan to develop the steps needed to facilitate the speedier introduction of tourism signposting in support of both individual tourism businesses and clusters.
Overseas Markets - The continued fall in the value of the pound should makes us a more attractive destination to overseas visitors while the increase in the cost of overseas holidays may persuade more UK residents to holiday at home. However, this is not being borne out by the most recent year on year IPS data. The WTA looks to Visit Britain to work with Visit Wales to develop key markets for Wales overseas including those markets now served by international airlines using airports in close proximity to Wales. Visit Britain and Visit Wales need to continue to coordinate their marketing campaigns and support for trade missions in key markets for Wales, but again be creative in the way it accesses content from small and micro businesses. The national campaigns, as well as supporting the marketing of new tourism products, need to raise Wales’ profile in traditional overseas markets as a matter of urgency.
Tourism Training EU nationals play an important part in some sectors of the industry in Wales, as elsewhere in the UK, and they will continue to be needed. Our colleges and universities are playing a vital role in training for the needs of the industry and to cover the shortfall. There should be closer liaison with tourism businesses to maintain the relevance of the courses on offer and to develop programmes specifically tailored for the needs of the owner/managers of tourism businesses.
Funding support is still needed for training programmes to fund widening gaps in the industry. But, whilst important, we also need to reach out beyond the traditional ‘tourism’ roles. We need other sectors to engage with the industry. Specialist builders, environmental scientists and electronic engineers for example. The post Brexit implications of EU funded programmes like Erasmus need careful consideration and consultation with the industry. The tourism industry is still not seen by the young as something to aspire to and any new plan needs to aspire to this as perhaps its main aim.
Finally, industry engagement, more resource needs to be set aside for Industry Communication to gain greater engagement with the sector. There has not been any dedicated industry communication officers at Visit Wales for some time. Is it time that a new plan made the case and set aside dedicated resource to assist Visit Wales.
Wales Tourism Alliance May 2019
Strength through Partnership - Team Wales’ ....That was this year's Wales Tourism Week message and it was taken and delivered to both the Senedd and Westminster. This year 20 events celebrated Wales Tourism Week 2019 which began on Saturday (May 11th). The WTA, along with its partners called on tourism organisations and businesses across the country to organise events during the week that promote the value of partnership and raise awareness of the industry’s importance to the Welsh economy.
The cornerstone launch event was our Wales Tourism Week 2019 evening reception at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on the May 14th. The reception was hosted by Suzy Davies, AM, chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Tourism Cross Party Group and the keynote speech was delivered by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport. The reception was well attended by guests from across the political community and the Tourism Industry.
“WTA’s Launch of Wales Tourism Week at The National Assembly in Cardiff Bay was well supported by both Assembly Members and a wide range of industry sectors. Very informative, an excellent networking opportunity and a true demonstration of Strength through Partnership.” Bob Hill – Sites Director, The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, “It’s very apt that the theme for this year’s Wales Tourism Week is strength through partnership, the collaborative working and strong partnerships which I’ve seen at work in the tourism sector really is to be applauded. As we approach the end of the current tourism strategy it’s clear to see that we’ve achieved a great deal through working in partnership. However, we are now looking at what the visitor economy will look like going forward and how we can work together to shape our strategies to meet the challenges and opportunities for tourism in Wales . Engagement with the sector is vitally important as we cannot deliver tourism in isolation – we depend on genuine partnership, including the private sector, local authorities and many others. Although these are very exciting times for tourism - we are also in uncharted waters and the climate is a challenging one but Wales is equal to the challenge and we can plan for the future together.”
This was followed on the 15th May by a reception which over twenty Welsh MPs as well as some keen English MPs attended in the Jubilee Room at Westminster Hall. Michael Ellis MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport gave a well received keynote speech, alongside Christina Rees MP for Neath - our sponsoring MP. Many thanks to Christina and her team.
Andrew Campbell, WTA chair, said: “We are now entering a post BREXIT era. This brings with it unique challenges and we hope some opportunities. As ever the only real way forward is through effective co-operation between the public and private sectors if we are to move ahead effectively and with a renewed vigour to deliver for our customers and their ever changing needs".
Andrew also referred to the uncertainty in the industry caused by Brexit and urges the Government to adopt a “sensible” immigration policy that allows the continued recruitment of workers to address skills shortages in tourism and agriculture, the futures of which were closely linked. Wales Tourism Alliance represents about 7,000 individual private sector tourism businesses and this week is an opportunity to showcase their work and the contribution they make.
Many thanks to both the Caravan and Motorhome Club and Green Tourism for being WTW 2019 sponsors.
(For immediate release)
The 14th May Annual Senedd Reception celebrates ‘Wales Tourism Week 2019’. ‘Cryfder trwy Bartneriaeth - Tîm Cymru’ - ‘Strength through Partnership - Team Wales’ is the theme of this year’s Wales Tourism Week.
The WTA, along with its partners, annually calls on tourism organisations and businesses across the country to organise events that highlight the importance of the industry and emphasise partnership to the political community throughout the week.
This with 19 events planned, they started with a Tourism Wales Coast Path Walk with Huw Irranca-Davies AM & Chair of WTA Andrew Campbell (12th May). This was followed by the launch of Adventure Smart Wales (12th May) and further events include the Swansea Bay Annual Tourism Stakeholder Day (15th May). Roch Castle and Penrhiw Priory are holding Open Day and the Twr y Felin Hotel, St Davids on the 17th May. (For a full list https://www.wta.org.uk/meetings.html).
The highlights of the week are the Annual Industry Receptions. The first of which will be held at the Senedd, hosted by Suzy Davies AM, the Chair of the Tourism Cross Party Group and sponsored by the Caravan & Motorhome Club and Green Tourism. Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas will be present at the Wales Tourism Week Senedd reception on the 14th May to give a keynote address.
A Westminster reception will then be held in Westminster Hall on the 15th May which will host around 12 Welsh MPs and Members of the Tourism Industry. The event is sponsored by Christina Rees MP, Member for Neath and a keynote speech will be given by Michael Ellis MP UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.
Andrew Campbell, WTA chair, has said: “Success deserves to be celebrated and in Wales, tourism is an undoubted success story. In 2018 overnight, domestic day and international visits to Wales generated over £5 billion in visitor spend and provided jobs for over 100,000 people. It is an industry which sustains communities, strengthens cultural identity, delivers high class visitor experiences within world class natural environments - and which also offers exciting and rewarding career opportunities’.
‘Going forward, tourism businesses can be optimistic. A new tourism strategy, together with significant investment in projects throughout the country, including the new International Convention Centre in Newport, which ensure that products remain competitive, engaging and relevant. But abiding success will only be achieved through partnership, which lies behind the Tourism Week theme. A Team Wales approach, across all sectors, will therefore be key to securing desired outcomes’.
Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, “It’s very apt that the theme for this year’s Wales Tourism Week is strength through partnership, the collaborative working and strong partnerships which I’ve seen at work in the tourism sector really is to be applauded. As we approach the end of the current tourism strategy it’s clear to see that we’ve achieved a great deal through working in partnership. However, we are now looking at what the visitor economy will look like going forward and how we can work together to shape our strategies to meet the challenges and opportunities for tourism in Wales . Engagement with the sector is vitally important as we cannot deliver tourism in isolation – we depend on genuine partnership, including the private sector, local authorities and many others. Although these are very exciting times for tourism - we are also in uncharted waters and the climate is a challenging one but Wales is equal to the challenge and we can plan for the future together.”
Co-ordinated by the WTA and the tourism industry, Wales Tourism Week is designed to be a ‘celebration of the tourism industry in Wales' as well as raising the profile of the industry, highlighting its huge revenue generating value and the job and career opportunities it provides.
Events can be added to the WTA website meetings page, by simply clicking the submit button and completing the online form - https://www.wta.org.uk/wales-tourism-week-2019.html
For more information, please contact Adrian Greason-Walker, Wales Tourism Alliance, on 07749 785147.