Tourism Alliance is calling on the Government to cut EU red tape with a policy change which it says could generate an additional £2.2billion in expenditure, create 40,000 new jobs and reduce the cost of domestic holidays for UK consumers.
According to the alliance, the new EU Package Travel Directive, which the UK has to implement by July 2018 through a revision of the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), will be detrimental to the UK’s domestic tourism industry due to the poor drafting of the definition of ‘package’.
Government has an opportunity to address this problem now by inserting a clause in the new regulations stating that, when the UK leaves the EU, the definition of a package will change so that it must include transport.
Under the directive a package holiday is defined as the purchasing from one supplier of two out of three services – accommodation, transport, other tourism service. If a B&B, guesthouse or hotel provides a value-added product, such as tickets to a local attraction, they are deemed a tour operator under the directive and therefore legally responsible for all parts of the product.
This is a significant risk for the 170,000 micro-businesses and SMEs that comprise the UK domestic tourism industry, meaning accommodation providers aren’t offering value-added products, therefore consumers pay higher prices.
Research by the Tourism Alliance suggests that removing this red tape will significantly boost the UK’s domestic tourism industry. The Tourism Alliance surveyed its members regarding the directive, with the following results:
Businesses estimated the change would increase revenue by an average of 9%
(UK domestic tourism generates £24.8bn per annum. 9% equates to £2.2bn)
91% of businesses stated that providing value-added products would grow the domestic tourism market and 82% said it would make the UK a more attractive destination
66% of businesses agreed that providing value-added products would improve seasonal spread
Kurt Janson, director, Tourism Alliance, said: “By leaving the EU our Government has the opportunity to remove unnecessary EU red tape which is proving detrimental to the UK domestic tourism market. The Government is currently in the process of translating EU Package Travel Directive into UK law and we urge them to address the definition of package, a change that would generate billions for the UK economy and stimulate job creation.
“It’s imperative that the UK continues to be a welcoming and competitive tourism destination, and the added-value propositions provided by our accommodation providers help to ensure this.”
According to the 2014 GB Tourism Survey, domestic holiday packages account for just 3.9% of the domestic tourism market compared to roughly 40% of the outbound market.
The primary purpose of the directive, and the PTR is to protect consumers who are taken on holiday by tour operators, providing consumers with two main protections, repatriation and liability. Removing the EU red-tape will not affect consumers rights and protections but it will reduce the cost of domestic holidays.