WTM 2017: minister vows to work for sector deal

UK tourism minister John Glen has pledged to work “as hard as possible” to secure a tourism sector deal as part of the government’s industrial strategy.

A consortium of tourism organisations and firms submitted its bid for a deal to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last month.

Speaking to a UKinbound dinner at World Travel Market London, the minister (pictured) said: “It is really important that this tourism sector deal is achieved and I am doing everything I can with my colleagues in Whitehall.

“It is important not to be complacent. We have got to work hard to secure a really sound sector deal.

“I know the challenges you face with Brexit and my job is to work flat out to get the results this industry needs.”

He hailed VisitEngland’s £40 million Discover England fund which is helping the trade develop integrated, bookable holidays – and in turn, boosting the UK economy.

Commenting on record inbound tourist arrivals this year, he added: “Don’t think the government is complacent about Brexit or the challenges you face.

“I worked in business for 13 years before being an MP and I know you need answers – so I will work as hard as I can to get those answers.”

• The minister also spoke at the UNWTO and WTM Ministers Summit, which debated the problems of overtourism at WTM London (November 6-8).

He said overtourism was “a nice problem to have”.

He told delegates: “I have seen how tourism authorities work together to develop opportunities – such as Devon and Cornwall attracting Dutch and Germans who don’t mind walking outdoors in the rain.

“We need to get the infrastructure right, and share data and solutions.

“It’s about diversifying options, and highlighting other options and make them readily available through technology.”