English Tourism Week
This week is English Tourism week, the annual celebration of English Tourism which highlights the importance, value and vast contribution the sector makes to the UK economy. In a normal year, its 303,000 businesses generate £157 billion for the UK economy and provide employment for 3.4 million people. The week provides an opportunity to engage local stakeholders, such as local MPs, to bring tourism to their attention and highlight the contribution to your local area.
Today the Tourism Alliance holds its board meeting in Parliament followed by a reception for MPs.
As a director for the Tourism Alliance, I am well aware that the last two years have been incredibly tough for many people and companies who rely on the tourism industry to make a living.
In my current role as the Chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council I have seen the impact the travel restrictions and lockdowns have had on many of our members whether at a local level in areas which attract domestic and business tourists, or for those who rely heavily on overseas travellers. Casinos, betting shops and bingo clubs have all been affected.
The UK’s eight high-end casinos, all based in London, contribute around £150 million a year in tax and £188 million to London’s GDP. The economic contribution of the high-end sector is boosted by attracting and supporting significant international tourist spending amounting to at least £120m of Gross Value Added (GVA) for the economy of London. Whilst some members of a family or friends visit the casino, others shop, visit London’s tourist attractions, but above all make a major contribution to tourism in the UK.
According to an authoritative study by Ernst and Young, casinos in general directly employ 11,600 people and, before the pandemic, contributed £500m a year to the Treasury in tax.
We warmly welcome the decision by ministers to ease restrictions on travel to help kickstart the tourism industry. Removing the requirement for any COVID-19 tests before travel or after you arrive and the requirement to fill in a passenger locator form from 18th March will be a huge boost for casinos in London who will now be able to play their part in the recovery from Covid.
This year’s theme for English Tourism Week is ‘You’re Welcome’. It aims to send a message to everyone that working in tourism is ready and willing to welcome visits back and are working hard to do so.
BGC members stand ready to supercharge this recovery and I hope by English Tourism Week 2023 we are in a much better position and welcoming many overseas visitors to the British Isles.