Improving the quality of the UK’s hotels, and other visitor accommodation, is a key aim for my Department and its partners in the tourism sector. The grading schemes operated in England, Scotland, and Wales are central to that process of improvement, and to consumer certainty in the quality of the British tourism product.
VisitBritain’s net expenditure on accommodation quality grading work in 2005-06 was £2,374,600 (after Value Added Tax). This figure represents payments to the Quality in Tourism division of GSL, which operates VisitBritain’s quality scheme under contract, less participation fees received. These figures will change over time, but it is likely that a net minimum of £12.5 million will be spent on the quality scheme by VisitBritain from its grant in aid resources over the life of the 5 year contract, to 2010. VisitScotland and the Wales Tourist Board additionally invest significant amounts in their own quality schemes, which have been fully standardised with those of VisitBritain and the Automobile Association since May 2005.
My Department will shortly start a major consultation of the tourism sector, to inform a comprehensive strategy for making the most of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games of 2012. Funding for any new work on accommodation quality, which may arise as a result of that consultation, will be considered before the tourism strategy is issued.