An analysis of the UK Government's 2011 tourism policy


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This is a presentation given at the Tourism Trends and Advances Conference in Rhodes, Greece, June 2013. It gives an overview and brief analysis of the UK Government's most recent tourism policy.

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  • In the first quarter of 2009, Global tourism arrivals dropped by 8%. European arrivals were down 10%.In 2009 in UK, a drop in domestic tourism receipts of £184 million were partially offset by the rise in inbound tourism receipts of £142 million.In 2012, inbound tourist numbers grew by 1% and spending grew by 4% - though interestingly, this growth occurred at the beginning and end of the year, and during the summer months when the Olympics and Paralympics were staged numbers remained the same as the previous year.
  • The aim of this marketing campaign was to harness the success of London 2012. £100m campaign, co-funded by the government and the private sector. Aim to attract 4 million extra visitors to Britain over the next 4 years.For longer stays, 4 nights or more, this would mean 29% of travellers holidaying in Britain rather than just 20% today
  • The 2011 policy does not radically diverge from the policies of previous UK administrations, instead it builds incrementally on the previous aims.Often prescriptive – government still sees itself as having a role to play in the future development of the industryNo indication of development process – no explanation of the decision-making process, not clear how these ideas were arrivedNo associated set of action plans or easily identifiable and measurable targets – e.g. ‘Broaden our tourism offer by creating alternative destinations which match London’
  • Continued government intervention:‘…because of the sector’s high proportion of SMEs, and free-ridgin by firms which benefit from shared marketing campaigns which they haven’t participated in, there’s a high level of market failure which stops it happening. As a result, the public sector has had to step in, which has left the industry – unusually for its size and importance – particularly dependent on public funds’Reduced government intervention:‘…reduce the sector’s dependence on taxpayer funding, increase the amount of money available for collective destination marketing, and create a sustainable new model of destination marketing and management’The policy seems to put forward a contradictory position. If Government’s intervention and reforms can eradicate market failure, then tourism will need no greater level of support than other industries receive. But, if market failure persists, then current levels of corrective state funding are unsustainable. In this scenario, market failure, accompanied by unsustainable state support, could lead to an industry that lacks regualtion and direction.
  • Visit Britain is the National Tourism Organisation for UK, with three devolved NTOs for Scotland, Wales and Northern IrelandVisit Britain – History of engagement with private sector, but has principally been public sector-led body, operating at arm’s length from government, with the responsibility for distributing fund.50% co-funder with British Airways, Easyjet, Hilton Hotels, P&O ferries.No increase to total funding to Visit Britain. As part of the austerity programme, total core funding was cut from £73.9 million in 2011-12 to £43.6 million in 2014-15, a drop of 58%. This is not offset by the new partnership fund as this has been ring-fenced for promotional campaigns and not for other Visit Britain functions.
  • Localism agenda – ideological and political commitment to reduce state structure and encourage stronger local control.Natural geogr
  • An analysis of the UK Government's 2011 tourism policy

    1. 1. + Analysis of UK Government’s 2011 Tourism Policy Dr. Samantha Chaperon & James Kennell University of Greenwich, London
    2. 2. + Political context  UK coalition government formed in May 2010  Tourism was one of the first main policy statements  UK government viewed tourism as a potential growth sector
    3. 3. + Economic context  Aim of reducing public spending by approx. 13% on 2010 levels (Taylor- Gooby, 2012)  By the end of 2011, international arrivals to the UK had risen by 3.3% and spending by these tourists had risen by 6.5% (ONS, 2012) Domestic tourist trips in the UK also rose by approx. 9.3% (Tourism Alliance, 2012)  Coalition government elected in the wake of economic crisis  Structural reforms and austerity programme  Tourism viewed as one of the ‘winners’ in the UK economy  Ability to capitalise on weak national currency  Provide domestic tourism opportunities
    4. 4. + Key aims of UK Tourism Policy 1. Develop an innovative new partnership marketing campaign 2. Increase the proportion of UK residents who holiday in the UK to match those who holiday abroad each year 3. Improve the sector’s productivity to become one of the top 5 most efficient and competitive visitor economies in the world (DCMS, 2011)
    5. 5. + UK Tourism Policy Approach  Reflects the Government’s neoliberal policy agenda  Focus is no longer on London 2012, but identifies many similar areas for growth and barriers to growth  e.g. regulation, balance of trade, need for skills development, poor industry coordination, inadequate signage  Often prescriptive
    6. 6. + Changing governance structures for UK tourism industry State • Industry Public • Private Regional • Local
    7. 7. + Relationship between the stateand industry  Continued government intervention justified through problems of market failure and free-riding  Reduced government intervention - private sector now taking the lead with public sector funding for tourism development and marketing suffering large cuts. Contradiction?
    8. 8. + Relationship between the public and private sectors  Visit Britain’s new role is to be 50% co-funder of a partnership marketing campaign with a value of £100 million  To attract 4 million additional overseas visitors in four years after London 2012  To gain £2 billion in extra visitor spend  To create 50,000 new jobs  Issue: After 12 months, £10 million has been raised by private sector (some in-kind) and £25 million by public sector
    9. 9. + Relationship between regional and local levels  DMOs are restructured to fit ‘natural geography of a tourist area’ (DCMS, 2011:forward), similar to new LEPs ‘natural economic geographies’ (BIS, 2010)  In line with new localism agenda  Issue: No definition of tourism geographies  Issue: Problems of private sector buy-in for DMOs (Cole et al 2012)
    10. 10. + Conclusions  Swings from highly ambitous to very mundane  Radical proposals on governance  Micro-management of signage and hotel rating schemes  No indications of development process or mechanisms for measuring success and evaluation  New institutional arrangements lack clarity and stakeholders appear disengaged  Tourism can provide growth, but is unclear wit this policy will help or hinder it