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Chief executive Deirdre Wells on industrial strategy working group

Published: 20 Jun 2017

UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells is among a number of top industry representatives to sit on the tourism sector deal steering group and connectivity working group, which will inform the visitor economy sector deal bid as part of the Government's industrial strategy. 

Boosting the UK's productivity lies at the heart of the industrial strategy. The UK currently lags behind competitors in France, Germany, Italy and Spain - a UK worker for example will produce in five days what his French counterpart will produce in four. The industrial strategy would be implemented through a series of sector deals which should be designed to unlock growth, identify key areas of competitiveness, spot opportunities for the future, and face risk proactively.

In a recent Business Barometer survey, UKinbound members ranked a strong sector deal and improved visa processes as their top tourism priorities for the new Government. With continued growth forecast for global tourism, the UK will need to remain competitive, particularly against emerging destinations such as Southeast Asia, which is growing more than twice as fast as the UK for inbound overnight visits. A sector deal would mean the visitor economy would feature in the Government's long-term economic strategy, allowing the sector to work on longer term policy goals and making the industry more resilient and competitive in the future.

Led by Steve Ridgeway, Chair of VisitBritain and former CEO of Virgin Airways, the working groups will look at the challenges and opportunities for the visitor economy such as productivity, and other issues including infrastructure, public sector support, and alignment with other sector deals.

The development of the tourism sector deal is supported by four working groups which will each look at specific issues:

Connectivity - visas, transport infrastructure and route development including rail and aviation, welcome

Regulation - post-Brexit opportunities, taxation, maintaining a competitive advantage, and future-proofing through regulation

Industry of Choice - skills, apprenticeships, productivity, languages

Industry of the Future - digital infrastructure, online presence, connectivity, internet access.

Please click here to view a report from VisitBritain on the long term structural trends in tourism. 

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