Skills Survey - DCMS is in the process of building an evidence-based understanding of employment and skills in the tourism and hospitality sector. As part of this they have commissioned Economic Insight to explore barriers to skills development from the perspective of both employees and employers. As part of their work they have developed the following survey for tourism businesses to complete https://www.warpsurveys.com/DCMS It should only take about 10 minutes to complete and the results will be valuable in feeding into UK Government policy including the new Immigration Strategy.
Welsh Government is offering a webinar to help SMEs prepare for Brexit. This will be held on Wednesday 27 March, 1-2pm.
Officials from HMRC, Food Standards Agency, DEFRA and the Border Delivery Group will cover the planned changes for both customs and broader border issues. By attending this webinar, you will learn about:
This webinar will include an opportunity for you to ask questions direct to UK Government officials.
Mark Isherwood AM question to Welsh Government on promoting tourism in North Wales - 19th March 2019
Extract from plenary session - 19th March 2019
Promoting tourism – Question asked by Mark Isherwood AM: How is the Welsh Government promoting tourism in North Wales?
Mark Drakeford AM: I thank the Member for that. North Wales is featured in all Visit Wales marketing activity, including its current Year of Discovery campaigns in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in Germany. There is also, via competitive application, financial support given to partners to collaborate on particular projects to market the north Wales area.
Mark Isherwood AM: Thank you for that response. But with the north Wales growth deal hopefully moving forward, and the approach by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board as team north Wales that Visit Wales should invest more in supporting the regions to target our UK domestic market while leaving Visit Wales to focus on Wales's profile internationally, how will the Welsh Government engage with our regional destination marketing organisation, North Wales Tourism, representing approximately 1,500 tourism-related businesses in north Wales, who are doing a great job already with their 'Go North Wales' brand, but could do a great deal more if more support from the Welsh Government and Visit Wales was forthcoming?
Mark Drakeford AM: thank the Member for that. I agree with him that fantastic efforts are made by tourism operators in north Wales to promote the area and to make it an attractive destination to visitors from the rest of the United Kingdom, but also from the rest of the world. We've talked already this afternoon, Llywydd, about Japan, and when Wales is in Japan for the Rugby World Cup it will be a major opportunity for us to showcase Wales as a destination for visitors from that part of the world, and north Wales operators particularly have already worked very hard to increase the number of visitors from Japan visiting north Wales. In fact, 27 of the top 30 Japanese tour operators now include north Wales on their UK itineraries, and that is a tribute to the work that has gone on in the region to promote it as a destination. We will continue to work through the regional tourism forum from north Wales to make sure that the work that is done by Visit Wales to promote the whole of our nation fully reflects the needs of north Wales and goes on making it such a successful destination for visitors in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.
BEIS has published a call for evidence on the Consumer Contract Regulations (CCR). These regulations govern:
• the information which a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale
• how that information should be given
• the right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises
They also ban practices such as:
• additional payments which appear as a default option
• requiring customers to pay more than the basic phone rate for post-contract customer helplines
From a tourism point of view, one of the most important aspects of the CCR is the “right to cancellation” provisions for off-premises sales. Currently, for most goods and services, customers have a 14 day right to return goods or cancel services. However, there is an exemption to these cancellation rights for a wide range of tourism products including tourism accommodation, flights, car hire, tickets to events and services relating to leisure activities that take place on a specified date or period. BEIS is considering modifying or removing this exemption, with the consultation document stating that “Initial feedback from some stakeholders suggests that in some circumstances, certain exemptions could be causing consumer detriment, for example hotel bookings” and citing recent work that the CMA has been undertaking on OTAs.
It is therefore important for the tourism industry to respond to this consultation. If anyone wishes the Wales Tourism Alliance to respond, with any issues you would like us to forward - email@example.com alternatively you can place your own response. The closing date for submissions is 1 May 2019 and can be send to : CCRSCFEresponse@beis.gov.uk
Alternatively, you can complete the online survey https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/ccp/consumer-contract-regs-2014-review-cfe/
It is over six months on from when the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (PTR 2018) came into force on 1 July 2018. PTR 2018 implements Directive (EU) 2015/2302 and replaces the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. The effect of PTR 2018 is to increase the number of packages that have insolvency protection in place so that consumers are refunded, and where appropriate, repatriated if the organiser becomes insolvent. In response to the concerns raised during implementation, the Government committed to taking stock after six and twelve months of PTR 2018’s operation. The aim is to use the insights gained to help inform a fuller review at the 12 months stage.
The WTA's key concern is that where the information requirements are useful for consumers when they are purchasing products that are generally recognised to be package holidays that include transport and accommodation, the information required is far less useful in situations where the consumer is purchasing Value-Added product that combines accommodation with “Other Tourism Services” such as a ticket to an attraction. Plus they are of no real use where the products and services are being provided on the same premises by the same operator. In these situations, the requirements are simply an additional burden for businesses and confusing to consumers.
Wales Tourism Alliance Chair, Andrew Campbell (2nd right) gave a presentation at Sail Scotland's Marine Tourism Conference, (6th March 2019) held in the Clydeside town of Greenock. The event formed part of Scotland's Month of Tourism and was focused on how best to secure opportunities for the Year of Coasts and Waters which commences in 2020.
Andrew gave an industry perspective and review of Wales' Year of the Sea 2018 campaign, based upon feedback received from WTA members - and was also able to share ideas and examples of good practice. It was also an occasion to showcase the nation's maritime assets, which one delegate described as a "great advert for Welsh tourism!".
Other speakers included:
Fergus Ewing - Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy; Jock Wishart - Legendary Maritime Adventurer; Hugo Tagholm - CEO Surfers Against Sewage; Marie Christie - VisitScotland; Robbie Drummond - MD Calmac Ferries; Jeff Houlgrave - Chairman Superyacht UK
Karen Christie - Scottish Tourism Alliance; Daniel Steele - CEO Sail Scotland
Andrew Campbell, WTA Chair (Left), Adrian Greason-Walker, WTA Policy Advocate (right) met with Marie Lorimer, Head of Public Policy (Centre right) and Paula Ellis, Retreats Group (2nd left) to discuss the 'Sharing Economy' and its impact on the Tourism industry in Wales. Following this initial meeting a Tourism Cross Party Group was held with Assembly Members, Members of the Wales Tourism Alliance and other industry representatives including the Cardiff Marriott and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Online platforms are facilitating new economic interactions, increasing market efficiency, lowering prices and providing more choice for suppliers and consumers. However, with such rapid growth comes a number of issues. Marie Lorimer after providing an in-depth review of the Airbnb platform, discussed the ways in which Airbnb is addressing concerns about the adequacy of fire, utilities and quality assurance by engaging more actively with their hosts and the use of self-regulation.
In the follow up Q&A session it was agreed that although these were advancements none of that should override the basic principle of a level playing field for all accommodation in terms of responsibilities and requirements for visitor safety, whether that comes via Sharing Economy platforms, booking agencies or tourism companies. It was concluded that more needs to be done to protect customer safety and maintain a level regulatory playing field across the tourism industry, whilst taking into account the needs of local communities and ensuring that all operators of tourism accommodation are paying the appropriate level of taxation.
TIER is a small group comprising key tourism industry organisations and government. The group develops plans for crisis scenarios as well as managing the tourism industry’s response to a specific crisis. TIER is facilitated by VisitBritain and comprises 10+ industry representatives. Members of the group include the Association of British Travel Agents, UKinbound, UK Hospitality, Britain’s national tourist boards, British Airways and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Other groups are called on depending on the location and nature of the crisis.
A meeting was held on the 12th March to discuss the impact of BREXIT on the industry:
Advice for visitors
For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit
Advice for workers
There is a Gov.UK website that contains information and advice for visitors to the UK regarding the impacts of Brexit. The site includes information on what happens under both Deal and No Deal scenarios. The information is being updated on a regular basis so it is keep an eye on the page as the advice changes with the political situation. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit
Visit Britain's analysis of the Q3 IPS figures contains useful information on what is happening in European markets. The figures are six months old and the factors associated with increases and decreases are not solely attributable to Brexit, but it does give a flavour as to which markets seem to be holding up (eg., Sweden and Spain) and which ones seem to be affected (Germany and the Netherlands).
General Economic Status
It is worth noting that all the forecasts are based on the assumption that the UK leaves the EU with a deal (ie., goes into a transition period during which the status-quo with the EU remains). If UK crashes out, then all forecasts are off.
Tourism Related Issues
• The Government announced a review of global tech companies to ensure they pay a fair share of tax in the UK.