WTM14: UKinbound speaks out for UK tourism

UKinbound’s Deirdre Wells OBE and VisitBritain’s Sally Balcombe
UKinbound’s Deirdre Wells OBE and VisitBritain’s Sally Balcombe

UKinbound will be at the forefront of voicing the UK tourism industry’s concerns ahead of next year’s General Election after new research found the sector is worth more than £1.8 billion to the UK economy.

Speaking to Travel Daily, UKinbound CEO Deidre Wells OBE said it was numbers like this that will help the organisation to discuss key issues with government and also get recognition of its impact to the UK.

As well as generating nearly £2 billion each year tourism also supports 108,000 jobs.

“With the recent GREAT trade missions there has been a tourism element with VisitBritain and UKinbound attending with some of our members, which shows that the tourism arm is significant,” she said. “The most vital message we can take to the future government is how important the success of tourism is to the country and that it is a growing industry that is strong to PLC while also supporting one in five jobs.”

Recent trade missions have visited the likes of Colombia and China, while others are planned for Mexico and Malaysia.

Other events such as the ‘Discover’ days in areas outside of London will also continue into next year.

Wells said: “It’s crucial that we grow and support our tourism outside of London as the knowledge is currently patchy. Partnering up with other destinations and businesses means that some really interesting and engaging itineraries can be put together that surprises people too.”

And while conversations around issues such as Air Passenger Duty and visa regulations will continue, Wells is also keen to unite the industry no matter what market they are selling to.

“We have to take care not to pigeon hole too much, for example the visiting friends and relatives market is a ‘Cinderella’ really as it brings so much to domestic and inbound tourism.”

UKinbound will elect a new board in February that will devise its strategy moving forward, while also gearing up for its annual convention in Leicester in the same month.

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