The boss of budget hotel chain Travelodge is calling on 106 MPs from key tourism constituencies to stand up in the House of Commons and fight for the industry.
Chief executive Grant Hearn has written to the politicians ahead of English Tourism Week which runs from tomorrow (Saturday).
He wants their support to promote tourism from its “second class” status in the eyes of policymakers.
Hearn claims the UK’s fifth-largest industry has the potential to create 300,000 jobs by 2020 with the right regulatory framework.
He wants MPs to back a 10-point plan to develop a tourism industry capable of leading the economy to sustained growth and job creation.
The plan calls for Whitehall to move tourism higher up its agenda, and for the sector to be given the status it deserves by moving it from the Department of Culture Media & Sports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
A dedicated taskforce should also be created, headed by a tourism minister. This group would be tasked with delivering growth and creating a cross departmental cohesive strategy in cooperation with all tourism partners.
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 so many BRIC visitors away.
Hearn said: “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.
“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.
“The difficulties in the economy are well-publicised, 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.”
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