“Partnerships will drive tourism forward”

Mark McVay, chairman of UKinbound
Mark McVay, chairman of UKinbound

A more collaborative approach to tourism similarly to Scotland’s model would help UK tourism to flourish and get the attention of government, UKinbound’s new chairman said this week.

Mark McVay, who is also director of marketing and PR at St Paul’s Cathedral, said Scotland ‘gets it’ when it comes to investing and partnering for tourism initiatives and urged the inbound sector to adopt a similar method especially when lobbying to government.

“There are very few that appreciate what tourism brings,” he said. “Tourism is successful without the needs of government but there’s evidence that investment in tourism can generate 10 times the return it does now to the economy and jobs. Those are terrific odds that the government should want to exploit.”

While calling for APD to be abolished, a swift decision on airport capacity and further simplification of the visa system, McVay also pushed the need for support at a local and regional level.

He said: “There should be more investment in tourism authorities and need regional infrastructure to support new campaigns and work with trade. We could do so much more if we support at a local and regional level.”

Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP said the current government had already put funding into Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to support local tourism and would look to see ‘local and regional ownership of tourism too as well as national’.

Gerry Sutcliffe, Bradford South MP (Labour) and Nigel Huddleston, industry head of travel at Google and Conservative candidate supported the need for collaboration across national, regional and local levels although Huddleston suggested the number of organisations could complicate campaigns.

“There are almost 220 destination management organisations (DMOs) but sometimes they are competing against each other so that does not help,” he said. “There is huge interest in historic centres outside of London [in Google searches) but not always fulfilled, so there’s a gap there.”

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