In the letter, Hearn refers to the ’10-point action plan’,which urges the Government to give more support for tourism by moving it from the Department of Culture Media & Sports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
“English Tourism Week celebrates a vital industry in terms of providing economic growth, inward investment and job creation but it has been largely ignored by successive Governments,” said Hearn.
“The industry needs more than just lip-service, as we have a huge opportunity within our grasp to help the economy recover. A lack of action is costing jobs, growth and investment, and whilst we dither, our European neighbours and the USA are successfully pursuing growth via forward-thinking tourism strategies."
Leading the way
The letter also calls for more to be done to increase the UK’s competiveness, especially to reduce the bureaucracy behind the visa application process which keeps many BRIC visitors away.
It is published on the back of a Travelodge reportwhich provides stark evidence into the role that tourism can play in delivering sustained economic growth.
The first ever comprehensive analysis into how tourism performed during the double-dip recession showed that the industry outperformed the general economy, leading the way in terms of employment numbers and revenue growth.
‘Stand up and fight’
“The difficulties in the economy are well-publicised,” Hearn added. “But British tourism can act as a catalyst to help grow the UK’s economy and create much needed jobs.
“It’s crucial that the Government does everything it can to unleash the true potential of one of the few industries that is continuing to grow, but to be able to do that we need MP’s who will champion its cause.
“Our 10-point plan is about positioning tourism as a key element of a sustainable economic recovery, so we hope this provides the catalyst for MP’s to stand up and fight for it.”
With National Apprenticeship Week coming to a close last Friday (15 March),Travelodge also made a commitment to that cause; pledging to create 500 new jobs, 100 apprenticeships and 50 work experience positions by 2015.
Also coinciding with English Tourism Week, which runs until Sunday 24 March, the Minister of Tourism, Hugh Robertson; Lady Cobham, VisitEngland’s chairman; Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, chair of London & Partners and tourism businesses in London shone a light on the importance of customer service in the industry by launching a series of free WorldHost training sessions for businesses across the country.
The free taster sessions, run by the National Skills Academy for Retail which is part of the government’s national skills sector council People 1st, will provide businesses with an insight into how the WorldHost training programme can help them improve their customer service and ultimately boost their bottom line.
Free sessions will take part in several locations across the country including London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Chester.
Minister for TourismHugh Robertson said: “In 2012 we welcomed the world as the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games showed our country at its best. We want to build on that and continue to drive growth for the tourism industry.
“The standard of customer service and care can make or break people’s experience and perception of our country so I urge the sector to get behind this initiative as part of English Tourism Week.”