Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the Government’s intention to deliver a landmark sector deal for the UK tourism industry, which will attract more domestic and overseas visitors, and help drive major economic growth.

UK tourism is now worth over £66 billion a year to the economy. The sector employs 1.6 million people, covering beaches and activity parks, to hundreds of thousands of heritage sites. In Tendring, the Clacton constituency’s sunshine coast is worth hundreds of millions for the economy and supports thousands of jobs in the tourism industry.

Annual statistics released in July revealed that a record-breaking 39.2 million visits were made by overseas tourists to the UK in 2017, with the latest domestic tourism figures showing that residents across Great Britain took a total of 120.7 million overnight visits to destinations in England, Scotland, and Wales in 2017.

A new tourism sector deal is an opportunity for driving change, through workforce development and consequent productivity gains, resulting in perception changes of hospitality and tourism as a career for life. The Government will now begin negotiations with the industry on this new deal and as part of this process, Ministers have called upon businesses to respond with a renewed commitment to promote its offer throughout the year, not just in the peak summer months, and increase clear career paths.

The sector has been asked to look at the key themes of:

  • Making tourism and hospitality a career for life
  • Making the UK the most accessible tourism industry in the world
  • Sharing industry data to identify growth opportunities in new and emerging markets
  • Increasing accommodation capacity

Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“The tourism industry is one of the UK’s most successful exports. Every time a leisure or business traveller chooses to visit, it brings investment in our economy and supports jobs across the country. But we are in a competitive global market and we need to be ambitious to maintain the fantastic growth we have seen in recent years.

“I want to make sure that we continue to attract visitors to all parts of the UK throughout the year, who are welcomed by a highly-trained and highly-motivated workforce. A Sector Deal is a way to deliver this, and the industry have put forward some strong ideas to Government. We are ready to formally negotiate on a deal which can boost productivity in this crucial sector.

“I want to achieve the best deal possible for tourism and know that the industry will respond with renewed energy to achieve this.”

Giles said:

“I am pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of the tourism industry. Tourism is an important industry in Clacton and we have a lot of opportunities, this new sector deal will help unlock those. The continuing success of our sunshine coast will be enhanced by this initiative.”