This seminar focused on the future for UK tourism - including priorities for driving growth and the development of the tourism sector deal.
Discussion focused on the key challenges facing the sector and what would be required from the deal to address these, as well as examining the latest progress of the negotiations on the deal between government and industry.
The conference was also an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the impact of latest developments arising from the UK’s planned departure from the EU.
Following the publication of a report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns, the agenda also looked at next steps for development of local tourism offerings across the UK. Those attending discussed the development of ‘tourism zones’, promoting partnerships between the tourism sector and local government, and sharing best practice across regions - as well as improving marketing and promotion, attracting investment, and tackling challenges around planning and infrastructure.
Further sessions examined the way forward for developing the sector’s workforce and putting it on a sustainable footing for the long-term.
Discussion and engagement took place between policymakers and industry stakeholders on what is needed from further and higher education to equip people with the skills needed for careers in hospitality and tourism - including examining the suitability of T-levels and degree apprenticeships for meeting the sector’s needs.
Those in attendance also considered what changes may be needed from businesses and industry to improve long-term career prospects within the sector, and discussed the way forward for addressing concerns around employee turnover.
The debate brought out latest thinking on strategies for increasing the UK’s global market share, particularly in areas such as cultural and business events, and on achieving closer collaboration between local tourist business, local authorities, transport infrastructure and other stakeholders in order to extend the tourist season.
Delegates also considered what more is required from government to improve physical and digital connectivity across the UK - with particular attention being paid to the benefits that the UK’s tourism sector might realise from such improvements.
There was discussion on developing regional and international transport links, particularly including air and rail, in order to drive sector growth across the UK - addressing questions such as how best to link ports of entry to wider geographic areas, reducing transit times, simplifying journeys and alleviating bottlenecks.
There was also a further focus on developing digital infrastructure and connectivity for the sector, and the benefits of this for the online footprint of UK SMEs.