Memorandum submitted by the British Tourist
1.1 The Value of Tourism to the Welsh Economy
Tourism is one of the largest and most important
industries in Wales, making a considerable contribution to the
Welsh economy: an economy that is more dependent on tourism than
virtually any other in Europe. Spending by overnight and day visitors
now amounts to just over £2 billion (7 per cent of GDP) and
tourism supports around 100,000 jobs.
1.2 Out of this £2 billion, in 1998
£1.1 billion was spent by staying visitors from the UK and
another £176 million was spent by just under 800,000 visitors
from overseas. The remainder was spent by people on day trips.
1.3 A Tourism Strategy for Wales
In July the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) published
its strategy for the development of tourism in Wales, with a supportive
foreword from Rhrodri Morgan, the Assembly First Secretary. The
strategy is designed to meet four objectives, the first of which
is to market Wales more effectively as an attractive all year
round tourism destination. Flowing from this, WTB has set challenging
targets to increase its share of the tourism market. If additional
funding is made available to WTB then, by 2010, it aims to have
increased its number of overseas visitors to 1.26 million, spending
£396 million. Without additional funding, WTB will aim for
the lower targets of increasing overseas visitors to 1.15 million
with a spend of £366 million. Whichever targets apply, BTA
will be working with WTB to help it achieve them.
1.4 As WTB says in its strategy: "The
relationship between WTB and BTA will need to assume increasing
importance if Wales is to achieve its stated growth targets for
overseas tourism. A co-ordinated programme of marketing activities
will need to be developed to increase awareness of Wales and to
stimulate a higher proportion of tourists to visit Wales during
their stay in the UK".
In the USA this year:
we have spoken to 10,723 people who
rang our call centre for information about Wales;
sent information about Wales to 14,665
people who responded to our advertising campaigns; and
recorded 4,345 visits to the Wales
pages of our visitbritain gateway web site in the US.
2. THE STATUTORY
2.1 The British Tourist Authority (BTA),
together with the English, Scottish and Wales Tourist Boards (the
national boards), was created in 1969 by the Development of Tourism
Act. BTA was charged with encouraging people living overseas to
visit Great Britain whilst the national boards were given responsibility
for promoting their respective countries domestically within Great
2.2 Originally, the national boards were
not given powers to market their countries overseas but this was
changed for Wales in 1992. (The Scottish Tourist Board had already
been granted overseas marketing powers in 1984. The English Tourist
Board, now trading as the English Tourism Council, has never been
2.3 By virtue of the Government of Wales
Act 1998, the functions and powers of the Secretary of State for
Wales under the Development of Tourism Act were transferred to
the Assembly. The Assembly also has the power under the "Wales
Act" to call BTA to give evidence before it and to produce
3. THE WAY
BETWEEN BTA AND
WTB WORKS IN
3.1 WTB, in common with the other national
boards, makes an input in to all major decisions taken by BTA.
The Chairman of WTB, Philip Evans, is an ex-officio member of
the BTA Board; he represents Welsh interests and contributes and
advises on strategic and policy matters whenever key decisions
3.2 The BTA Board makes a point of holding
some of its meetings outside London at venues around Britain and
it visits Wales about once a year. On these occasions, the Board
meets colleagues on the relevant national board and representatives
of the tourism industry who are based in the country or region
3.3 The Chief Executives also meet regularly
to discuss matters of mutual concern and interest to specialist
Our Britain Visitor Centre brings
national tourist boards and commercial partners together under
one roof to provide pan Britain information coupled with reservation
services. Last year, WTB staff in the Centre fielded 18,553 enquiries
from visitors who came in person to get information and spoke
to another 10,869 who telephoned.
3.4 Since January 1998, the relationship
between BTA and WTBand the other national boardshas
been formalised in an Overseas Marketing Agreement which sets
out our respective roles, responsibilities and working relationship
in the overseas promotion of Britain and its constituent countries,
in this case Wales. The following principles underpin the Agreement
and provide a good overall description of the way in which BTA
and WTB operate in the joint job of promoting Wales overseas:
BTA and WTB are equal, strategic
BTA recognises that the marketing
of Wales as a destination delivers benefits to Britain as a whole
and WTB recognises that the "umbrella" marketing of
Britain can deliver benefits to Wales;
WTB is the guardian of the "Wales
brand" whilst BTA is the guardian of the overall "Britain
BTA will not reduce its activity
in those markets designated by WTB as its primary markets. This
means that WTB's activities in these markets are truly additional
to those of BTA. BTA does not reduce its activity because WTB
is active. In WTB's secondary and tertiary markets, they support
our promotional activities on Wales' behalf.
3.5 The implementation of the Overseas Marketing
Agreement is overseen by a Steering Group at which the parties
are represented at director level and, of fundamental importance
to ensuring delivery of the principles enshrined in the Agreement,
is the fact that WTB is involved in BTA's business planning process
from the earliest stage.
3.6 BTA is currently developing a new strategic
framework. The aim of this process is to ensure that we meet the
needs of our stakeholders, which include strategic partners such
as WTB, and to provide a clear structure around which we will
build the next round of business planning and budgeting.
3.7 This has provided a timely opportunity
for WTB to re-consider what its requirements of BTA are. For instance,
they are looking to us to help further in developing a distinctive
Wales brand and for WTB to have a more participative role in "Britain"
advertising campaigns. This dialogue is on-going and these and
other commitments that WTB is seeking will be considered and discussed
fully as part of the business planning process for the forthcoming
year. We are listening and will continue to do so.
among many other activities, we run
a Wales campaign each year working jointly with WTB, Stena and
Irish Ferries. This year, we received a record 9,000 responses;
last year, our direct mail campaign
with Stena and WTB resulted in 364 visits to Wales that would
not otherwise have been made; and
we sent around 10 journalists to
Wales each year and one trade group; ie travel agents and tour
3.8 In common with the Scottish Tourist
Board, WTB believes that it is preferable to spend money on marketing
Wales than on maintaining separate offices overseas, given that
it can "bolt-on" to the BTA network. Hence, in the USAwhich
is Wales' most important overseas market and the only one in which
WTB maintains a presence on territoryit operates out of
BTA's New York office.
3.9 WTB has had a marketing manager and
assistant in post in our New York office for the last eight years
and, until 1995, the posts were jointly funded by BTA, WTB and
the Development Board for Rural Wales (now the WDA). Since then,
they have been funded wholly by WTB, which also reimburses BTA
with overhead and other costs associated with the posts. The WTB
marketing manager has a strong working relationship with BTA colleagues
and supports many BTA led marketing initiatives. This October,
Cardiff will host the American Society of Travel Writer's Convention.
BTA supported Wales' bid for the Conventionwhich is regarded
as a prestigious eventand it is the first time that the
society has chosen a UK destination.
4.1 How we market Wales overseas depends
entirely on the knowledge that each country has of Wales. Not
everyone overseas appreciates that Great Britain is made up of
three countries and, in most overseas markets, we have to develop
a potential visitor's awareness of Britain as a destination before
we can move on to develop awareness of Wales as a destination
within Britain. We have therefore worked with the national boards
to develop an overall umbrella brand for Britain that can stand
on its own or be combined with one or more of the four main brands:
London, England, Wales and Scotland.
4.2 Wales' most importantor prioritymarkets
are the USA, from which it receives 21 per cent of its overseas
visitors, Germany (11 per cent), Republic of Ireland (9 per cent),
Netherlands (9 per cent) and France (7 per cent) and these are
the markets in which WTB is most pro-active in marketing Wales.
It also carries out pro-active work on a smaller scale in its
three secondary markets of Australasia, Belgium and Japan. Since,
1992, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Canada have,
at various times, been classified as secondary markets by WTB,
but are currently classified as tertiary.
4.3 In tertiary markets, WTB does not undertake
any proactive work on territory and relies on BTA to promote Wales,
although WTB does respond positively to BTA offers of press visits
and travel familiarisation visits within Wales.
we expect to have distributed 20,000
copies of the Wales Guide by the end of the year;
by the end of August our call centre
had mailed about 800 information packs on Wales;
we have dealt with 1,000 enquiries
about Wales resulting from our TV advertising campaign; and
last year we generated coverage of
Wales in Australian print media estimated to be worth £250,000,
and obtained three prime time features on travel shows.
4.4 To flesh this out, and to give a flavour
of how we actually set about marketing Wales "on the ground"
we are attaching an appendix outlining our current programme of
activity in Germany. The activities mentioned are mirrored in
our marketing programmes around the world.
4.5 BTA has also provided support to WTB
on campaigns that it initiates and leads on. Notably, the promotion
last year of the Rugby World Cup. In Argentina, where rugby is
very popular, we estimate that joint BTA/WTB activity resulted
in £1.25 million of business for Walesan ROI of £62:£1.
Sports tourism is, in fact, an area in which BTA and WTB are collaborating
closely. BTA has recently launched a sports tourism strategy.
WTB is a member of our Sports Tourism Forum, and Tony Lewis, the
ex-Chairman of WTB, has agreed to assist BTA in encouraging sports
stars to act as sports tourism "ambassadors" when they
are overseas. The fact that the Welsh Assembly asked WTB, in its
recent Strategic Guidance Letter, to develop this area, "possibly
in conjunction with BTA", is likely to strengthen our collaboration
on sports tourism still further.
4.6 Over recent years, BTA has made increasing
use of new media technology. Our award winning website www.visitbritain.com
enables potential visitors around the world to access information
about Britain's cities, resorts, all types of accommodation and
attractions as well as to plan their journeys once here. Attached
to the sites are 27 gateway sites that enable visitors to access
the information they need in their own language. Ultimately we
plan to increase the number of these gateways to around 40.
4.7 As part of our continuing commitment
to new technologies, this year BTA is sponsoring the IT and Innovation
category in the WTB's re-vamped awards scheme for the industry
4.8 A key part of TBA's role is to advise
the tourism industry on how best to market their products overseas.
To this end, we publish Market Guides, organise "road shows"
on territory and provide introductions to key contacts overseas
such as tour operators. One of the difficulties we have encountered
in fulfilling this role is of making small businesses aware that
we have a lot to offer them and that BTA is not just interested
in working with large companies. As part of our continuing drive
to make our expertise more accessible, we have set up an internet
site for tourism industry professionals (TIPS) at www.tourismtrade.org.uk
which contains a mine of market information and data and has links
to relevant third party sites. In conjunction with regional and
national tourism boards we have also begun to hold joint "surgeries"
when we send a marketing team out to meet and advise local SMEs.
In the Netherlands last year:
we answered 5,800 general enquiries
sent out 8,086 guides and brochures
about Wales; and
responded to another 11,000 enquiries
that resulted from our advertising campaign.
And that's only part of the story.
5. HOW OUR
5.1 In carrying out our role of promoting
Britain overseas we work with a large number of public bodies,
such as the UK Sports Council, the Arts Councils, Historic Royal
Palaces, Heritage and Museums agencies and so on whose activities
impinge on tourism. As far as possible, we generally deal with
Britain wide agencies, leaving the national boards to deal with
those bodies whose remit is limited to a single country. We can
provide more detail of these relationships if required.
5.2 Our closest working relationship is
with the British Council. As well as sharing offices with them
in three countries, the British Council provides an information
service to prospective visitors on BTA's behalf in 12 further
countries from which the level of visitors is not high enough
to justify BTA maintaining a separate presence. We provide the
printwhich obviously covers Wales as well as Britain's
other constituent countriesand train the British Council
staff. The overall relationship is governed by a Memorandum of
5.3 We also have close relationships with
the DTI and, especially on territory, with the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and are fast developing links with British Trade International.
In countries where we have no other presence, we supply the Embassy
or High Commission staff with literature and information so that
they can deal with tourism enquiries and we make regular presentations
to ECO information staff when they are in London.
5.4 Another vital relationship is with the
UK Immigration Service Ports Directorate with which we have entered
into a Memorandum of Understanding which provides a framework
for our work together to expedite the passage of bona fide
visitors to Great Britain. UKIS, BTA, DCMS and the FCO meet regularly
to discuss points of mutual interest and, latterly, the British
Council has joined our group.
5.5 The final set of relationships we should
like to mention here are EU orientated. BTA's office in Brussels
works closely with WTB to promote Wales' tourism interests to
the EU institutions. Much of this work has been to do with the
European structural funds and has included discussions with the
Welsh desk officer for ERDF in DG Regional Policy; inviting WTB
to participate in a Brussels seminar on tourism and the structural
funds in September last year; and working with WTB and the other
national boards on BTA's recent structural fund guidance Making
the most of Tourism's Contribution to Regional Economic Development
which resulted from the seminar. WTB has since distributed this
guidance document to many of its partners in the new 2000 to 2006
ERDF programme for Wales.
In Japan last year:
2,800 people visited our Tokyo office
to ask for information about Wales;
700 people telephoned for information;
900 people wrote for information;
around 9 per cent of all enquiries
relate to Wales.
5.6 BTA also has a good working relationship
with the Wales European Centre (WEC) in Brussels and we joined
togethersuccessfullyto make representations to the
European Commission on the eligibility of tourism promotion programmes
for ERDF support in Wales (and elsewhere in the UK). In 1999,
at WEC's request, we accompanied and advised a top level WTB delegation
that went to Brussels to discuss tourism issues with representatives
of various directorates-general of the European Commission.
6. IS THERE
6.1 In our view, relationships are working
well and we do not see any need for legislative change arising
out of devolution. However, we do support WTB's wish to see the
introduction of a statutory scheme of registrationfor which
there are already powers in the Development of Tourism Actand
inspection of tourism accommodation. We believe, as they do, that
it would provide the best mechanism for driving up quality.
7.1 We hope that we have managed to convey
an understanding of how BTA and WTB work together to promote Wales
abroad and why there is a place for both of us in so doing.
7.2 However, we are working through particularly
challenging times at the moment and BTA is more that conscious,
not only that it must continue to deliver what its strategic partners
want, but also that we must prove that it is doing so.
7.3 As noted above at para 1.3, WTB has
set challenging targets for increasing its number of overseas'
visitors over the next 10 years. WTB believe that, if they are
to meet these targets, a continuing close working relationship
with BTA, in which the roles and responsibilities of both parties
are understood and accepted, will be essential.
a direct mail campaign with WTB,
Euro Wales and Wales Botanic Gardens resulted in visitors spending
£300,000 in Wales that would not otherwise have been spent.