Breaking down the impact of the de Bois report for DMOs in England

The de Bois report set out 12 recommendations to improve the DMO landscape in England – and the UK government has recently published their response, accepting the majority of Nick de Bois’ recommendations. Ahead of City Nation Place UK this November, we reached out to Patricia Yates, CEO of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, to understand what the broader impact will be across England following these decisions.

 

One of the key innovations following the de Bois report will be to restructure Destination Marketing Organisations to become Local Visitor Economy Partnerships. Can you give me an overview of what this will mean for DMOs and destination marketing in England? How will the new model help destinations build resilience by creating new funding streams?

 

The UK Government has accepted many of the recommendations from the review and sets out clear steps to reduce the fragmentation and duplication in the current DMO landscape. The review also recognises the crucial role played by DMOs in supporting the recovery of the tourism sector following the pandemic and the huge contribution which they, and the visitor economy more widely, can play in supporting the UK Government’s priority to deliver growth across every region, as well as making England’s tourism industry more sustainable, accessible and competitive.

We look forward to implementing the accreditation scheme and the Destination Development Partnership pilot, ensuring we have the right national and local infrastructure to enable England to continue to be a compelling destination for domestic and international visitors.

The UK Government's decision to proceed with piloting a tiered approach is an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that these reforms will have, if rolled out nationwide. We will be also be able to really measure an element of funding at a regional level to develop tourism and what impact that will have. This will strengthen the case for future funding.

An important strand of our support for Local Visitor Economy Partnerships will be highlighting available Government funding streams as well as developing and providing a ‘toolkit’ to help with bids to those streams.  We also welcome the fact that the UK Government is looking to coordinate tourism policy across departments through an inter-ministerial group, ensuring a more joined-up and consistent approach to the visitor economy. VisitEngland will be working with DCMS to feed into that group.


What will the new accreditation system entail?


VisitEngland will be engaging with DCMS and our DMO partners to develop the accreditation process and criteria for a national portfolio of Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs), which can more effectively support England’s visitor economy. VisitEngland is now working through the details of the accreditation criteria and is looking forward to consulting with DMOs during a series of roundtables in October.

 

The tourism and hospitality sector has been struggling with a lack of employment. This is a global challenge, but how can we work to build up tourism as an employer of choice in Britain?


The UK’s tourism industry supports millions of jobs and local economies right across the country. It is an industry that creates jobs quickly in every region of the UK and contributes to improving Britain’s productivity by extending the season and building year-round jobs.

Tourism offers a hugely diverse and exciting range of career opportunities - our people-focused sector has a huge amount to offer. Tourism is also one of the few industries where you can start at entry level and train and develop to reach CEO, and we are working with the industry to build our story about the social mobility that a career in the industry can offer.

We’ve been shining the spotlight, including during English Tourism Week earlier this year, on the huge range and variety of jobs across the industry to encourage people to consider a career in tourism. Our annual Tourism Superstar competition run in partnership with the Daily Mirror also puts our people-focused industry in the spotlight, celebrating and promoting the fantastic people who work in tourism as well as promoting the range of opportunities and careers on offer.

Organisations and trade bodies across the sector are committed and passionate about promoting skills’ development, training, workforce development and retention, and expanding apprenticeships and course offerings.

We are supporting the hospitality industry as it develops its recruitment and retention programme, looking at getting more young people into the industry through apprenticeship schemes and engaging with schools to show how tourism is an employer of choice. We are also working with the industry to develop policy solutions that could address the labour shortages we currently have in Britain such as extending the Youth Mobility Scheme to Europe.


What international marketing activity have you been doing this year?  

We’ve been out in our key inbound markets since February this year competing hard for international visitors through our global GREAT Britain marketing campaign, aligned to the UK Government’s GREAT campaign to ‘See Things Differently.’ The campaign has been targeting markets where we can quickly drive back value, including Europe and the USA, promoting our vibrant cities, heritage, contemporary culture, innovation and sporting excellence to the world and showing our hospitality, creativity and warm welcome.

We also continue to work with the travel trade and media in market to build product knowledge, broaden travel itineraries, encouraging visitors to stay longer, explore further and boost visits across the shoulder seasons. For example, VisitBritain hosted more than 40 top travel buyers, tour operators and trade media from Australia, Canada and India on educational visits to Birmingham and the West Midlands during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, part of our wider three year programme of work through the Business and Tourism Programme to drive visits in the run-up to the Games and beyond.

Wider activity has ranged from content partnerships with media, training in-country travel trade and hosting trade and press trips to the West Midlands, to harnessing countdown milestones and showcase events to drive bookings to Britain. Looking at wider promotion, VisitBritain has been running content internationally including on its dedicated Games’ website: www.visitbritain.com/birmingham2022 - inspiring visitors with activities and itineraries to explore more of Britain, stay longer and travel further.


What was the last campaign that you saw that made you think “I wish I’d thought of that first?”


Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Travelling under the Social Influence’ domestic campaign. The tongue-in-check campaign used humour to get its message across, to inspire New Zealanders to explore and discover somewhere new and share those experiences and images across social media. It captured some fantastic images and digital content too, to drive visits to less explored destinations across the country.


Join us at City Nation Place UK this November 9 as Patricia outlines the Government's response to the de Bois report in more detail and explores how we can create a more sustainable national structure for tourism growth. Find out more here.

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