Government announces plan to drive tourists beyond London

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced funding for northern tourism destinations during a visit to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island earlier this year. Picture by Jane Coltman
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced funding for northern tourism destinations during a visit to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island earlier this year. Picture by Jane Coltman

The Prime Minister today announced the Government’s new Five Point Plan to boost tourism – a key industry in Northumberland – right across the UK.

It aims to spread the benefits of one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors beyond the capital, helping to create jobs and rebalance the economy.

A new inter-ministerial group will be formed to co-ordinate and align action across government to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of what this country has to offer.

The group, headed by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, will focus on five key areas: A better co-ordinated sector – the sector is too fragmented, we want to see local attractions and tourism organisations collaborating to grow the sector for everyone not competing; skills and jobs – driving and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth; common-sense regulation – reforming regulation sensibly to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors; transport – forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors travel outside of the capital; an improved welcome – delivering a world-class welcome at the border.

David Cameron has also announced a £1million Rail for Tourism innovation competition, which will call for ideas to transform the travel experience for visitors to the UK and make exploring the UK by rail more attractive to tourists. The competition will be run by the RSSB’s Future Railways Programme and winners will receive funding to develop their ideas and carry out trials.

The plan and funding announced today is in addition to the £10million fund to support northern destinations to attract international visitors from around the world and ensure the north is on the map as a top tourist destination – a key part of the plan to build a Northern Powerhouse.

Mr Cameron said: “Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London. But Britain has so much more to offer, from the Cornish Riviera to the Scottish Highlands and everything in between.

“For many areas tourism is a key industry bringing jobs, growth and security for working people. Tourism supports almost one in 10 jobs in the UK and we want to rebalance the economy to make sure this boost is felt right across the country.”

Mr Whittingdale added: “Tourism is a vital industry that brings jobs and growth to local economies across Britain. There are so many world-class things to see and do in the UK and we need to make sure visitors are experiencing as many of them as possible.

“I am delighted to chair this new group which will put tourism at the heart of government and help to ensure that every part of the UK benefits by coordinating action across government. We want every visitor to the UK, whether from home or abroad, to have a brilliant experience and shout about it, encouraging even more tourists to choose Britain.”