Put tourism at the heart of the department for business

Put tourism at the heart of the department for business

Following the resignation of John Penrose from the role of Tourism Minister in the United Kingdom, ETOA has learnt that there will no longer be a minister solely responsible for tourism as part of a downsizing exercise in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

We wish to thank Mr Penrose for his good work on behalf of the industry. We are calling for the role to be moved to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The industry is third in terms of UK exports after the chemical and financial services sectors, contributing £17bn to the UK economy and £3bn to the Exchequer. At a European level, much of the legislation and policy that affects tourism is handled within the Department for Industry and Enterprise and the UK Government’s response to the EU internal market and some consumer legislation is already coordinated by BIS. Tourism is heavily influenced by the Treasury and the Home Office and UK Border Agency. BIS would be better placed to make the case for reforming indirect taxation arrangements and the visa process, which between them deter valuable business and tax tourism exports, causing a large net loss to UK plc.

David Cameron recognised the importance of the visitor economy in a keynote speech after he came to power in 2010; the growth he hoped for from emerging economies is achievable, but only with intelligent policies in place.

Accounting for 8.9% of UK GDP and 1 in 12 jobs directly and indirectly, tourism is far too important a part of the UK economy to be left without a direct political representative and BIS would be the natural home for that person.