To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist the hotel and restaurant industries to improve the quality of the services and products they offer in response to the current economic climate and the fall in the value of sterling. [HL2412]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making additional resources available for marketing initiatives promoting the United Kingdom as a tourism destination in eurozone countries and other markets where currencies have strengthened against the pound. [HL2413]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist the tourism industry in capitalising on the opportunities offered by a potential increase in hotel bookings in United Kingdom cities and tourism resorts as a result of the fall in the value of the pound. [HL2415]
As part of an ongoing process of support for the tourism and hospitality industries, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has worked closely with partners across government, business, and industry to help maximise any opportunities related to the relative value of sterling.
DCMS is providing £130 million to VisitBritain between 2008 and 2012 to market Britain overseas and to the domestic market. VisitBritain has recently launched a £6.5 million marketing campaign, running in the domestic and overseas markets, highlighting the country as a value-for-money destination.
This marketing investment works in tandem with investments focused on upgrading facilities—from the £3.5 million allocation to regional development agencies for tourism support through to the £45 million DCMS sea change initiative upgrading coastal towns. We are also working with other partners to improve the visitor hospitality package by investment in services at regional, sub-regional and local level, which can be seen in work on the National Quality Accreditation Scheme, operated by Visit Britain, the Automobile Association (AA), Visit Scotland and Visit Wales.
In addition, we have been working across government and with the Sector Skills Council and the industry on initiatives to improve professional skills—such as the development of new customer service qualifications, the development of the new National Skills Academy for Hospitality and the delivery of the National Skills Strategy.
We are also working to strengthen the partnership between the tourism industry and government, by establishing an industry advisory group to identify challenges and opportunities for recovery and an inter-ministerial group to address relevant regulatory and fiscal issues. DCMS is also working with partners to harness the maximum potential from the Britain brand using its strategic position in overseeing the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the range of cultural and sporting events taking place before and after.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched on 26 March a new sustainable tourism framework Sustainable Tourism in England: A framework for action, copies of which will be made available in the Libraries of the House.
This framework identifies six key challenges:
minimising environmental impact and resource use;
addressing the impact of tourism transport;
ensuring quality and making holidays accessible to all;
improving the quality of tourism jobs;
maintaining and enhancing community prosperity and quality of life; and
reducing short-term seasonal demand.
Further detail on each of these strands can be found within the framework document, which is available online at www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library /publications/6003.aspx.
In addition, DCMS, through VisitBritain, has delivered the Green Start programme, and the department is also actively encouraging membership of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, the David Bellamy Conservation awards, and participation from across the industry in schemes provided by the Carbon Trust.