Concerned tourism chiefs have called on the new culture secretary Sajid Javid to help revive regional tourism in the UK after domestic tourism numbers dipped last year.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is among the bosses that hope to gain backing from Javid to support hospitality and tourism, as he steps into the role following the resignation of Maria Miller in the latest expenses scandal.
Small and medium-sized tourism businesses are under more pressure as it was revealed there was a dip in domestic holiday breaks in 2013, with spend falling GBP682 million to GBP23.3 billion according to the Great Britain Tourism Survey.
London continues to perform well but regions including Yorkshire and Humberside saw declines of up to 11%, the report found.
It continued calls to reduce the VAT paid on tourism to 5% in alignment with most European countries.
“With a strong economic background Sajid Javid will be highly welcomed as the kind of big hitter the department needs given the challenges ahead. After two years of growth, this decline coincides with countries like Spain, France and Germany stealing a march on the UK. The strong increases by our competitors underline the need for government policy to support improved competitiveness – particularly across the regions,” said Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of BHA. “The GBTS report rings alarm bells and signals that the hospitality industry and government need to work closely together to help reverse this trend and ensure that the sector can continue to play its part in supporting regional growth and driving youth employment.”