Andrew Campbell, Chair WTA and Adrian Greason-Walker, Policy Advocate attended the Tourism Deal Conference in Birmingham (18/09/2019). It was also a great chance for the four Tourism Alliances from around the UK to catch up. From left to right: Marc Crothall, Scottish TA; Kurt Janson: English TA; Adrian Greason-Walker Wales TA; Joanne Stuart; Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance
The new Minister, Helen Whateley, opened the conference and re-affirmed her, and the Government’s, commitment to the Deal. The overall message was that the one year Comprehensive Spending Review Settlement has curtailed the implementation of some aspects of the Deal which rely on Government funding, the emphasis is now on the Government’s continued commitment and that the streams of work are being taken forward regardless and will be firmed-up when a full three year CSR takes place next year.
UK Tourism Data Hub: VB on the data hub are in talks with a number of organisations able to provide in depth visitor data. A representative for EE discussed the type of work that they have done for Heathrow. The capacity of using big data has great potential. Big data can also be overlaid with other data sets to provide predictions of visitor number. The Data Hub will be available for organisations to use without charge and will provide information at the regional and local level. Significant issues remain regarding privacy and the benefit of involvement to the data suppliers.
The International Business Events Action Plan is being implemented and there were offers of help from VB with Growth Fund support and soft support from DCMS such as Ministerial letters for destinations wanting to win events and reduce seasonality. Head of Business Events, Kerrin MacPhie, and the Director of Europe and Business Tourism, Robin Johnson, at the key contacts at VB.
The one year CSR settlement has meant that the Tourism Zone initiative has been affected as it needs a long-term financial commitment from Government. We do not yet know how this will be implemented in Wales. The delay will be used to undertake more work on the concept and to finalise details of the bid process and requirements.