Tourism

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which recommendations of the Allnutt Review of Tourism Statistics have been implemented; which recommendations remain to be implemented; which recommendations he does not plan to implement; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Allnutt Review of Tourism Statistics, published in June 2004, made 14 major recommendations. The implementation of these has necessarily been framed against available resources, the evolution of needs and taking advantage of opportunities that have arisen.

A main recommendation of the review was to establish and resource an effective organisation to develop and maintain tourism statistics of appropriate quality. This 'Tourism Statistics Unit' was recommended to most appropriately be located in the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The recent formation of the English Tourism Intelligence Partnership (ETIP) has led to significant progress being made against this recommendation and planning is under way for the unit to be established, in the ONS, this summer. The work plan for a new 'Tourism Intelligence Unit' (TIU) is being drawn up, and will include fully reviewing the recommendations and preparing costed proposals for future development and implementation.

A brief summary of progress against each of the other recommendations is provided as follows:

Recommendation 1: UK Tourism Survey (UKTS) and Leisure Day Visits Survey (LDVS) should be subject to a major redesign

The UKTS was redesigned and recommissioned in 2005 to address serious concerns about the erosion of data quality. The LDVS was most recently conducted by Natural England in 2005 (England only). The ONS has identified a cost-benefit analysis of the possible future inclusion of these two surveys within the ONS' new Integrated Household Survey as part of their provisional work plan for the TIU.

Recommendation 2: Some interim improvements should be made to the LDVS

Improvements were made to the methodology for the 2005 England Day Visits Survey. VisitBritain have been exploring possible options for a more regular, consistent, day visits survey.

Recommendation 3: The International Passenger Survey (IPS) should be improved as a source of tourism statistics

A recent change to the survey methodology has extended the weighting of the survey results to a regional basis, but other significant improvements—such as the regular inclusion of a detailed expenditure trailer—would require major financial investment. However, the IPS in its current format continues to provide credible and reliable data on inbound and outbound tourism.

Recommendation 4: The registers of accommodation and other tourism businesses should be improved

The provisional work plan for the TIU includes development and publication of a better statistical picture of the 'supply side' tourism data—drawing on ONS business data.

In 2007, VisitBritain commissioned a project aiming to measure the level of serviced and non-serviced accommodation stock across England, by region, using their own extensive database of accommodation data from regional partners and commercial organisations.

Recommendation 5: The UK Occupancy Survey (UKOS) should be improved to cover all types of commercial accommodation and provide viable statistics of occupancy and visitor nights

The methodology for the England part of the occupancy survey was changed in 2007, with a switch to an online-only approach to speed up reporting and improve response rates. The survey still covers serviced accommodation only.

Recommendation 6: The Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions (SVVA) should be amended to focus more on the quality and completeness of its statistics of visitor numbers

The National Tourism Organisations continue to each conduct a separate annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions. In addition, VisitBritain has addressed the call for timelier visitor data by launching the quarterly England Attractions Monitor in 2006.

Recommendation 7: Regional input-output tables of the best possible quality, and supplementary statistics from relevant businesses, should be produced as key input to the proposed development of Tourism Satellite Accounts

A pilot UK Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) was published in 2004, with a follow-up pilot TSA for the English regions published in 2005. Proposals for future development of TSA work will be scoped and costed by the TIU.

Recommendation 8: Panel surveys should be developed to provide timely short-term indicators of trends for a range of relevant indicators

VisitBritain launched a 'Domestic Industry Panel' in 2006 to help identify reasons behind the trends seen in the quantitative surveys. It is conducted three times a year and involves interviews with senior people in leading tourism businesses.

The England Attractions Monitor, launched by VisitBritain in 2006, is a quarterly panel of 500 visitor attractions across England.

A 'Trip Tracker' survey is also run by VisitBritain in advance of major holiday periods—Easter, Christmas and the August bank holiday—in order to monitor short-term trends. However, the survey is a random telephone survey rather than a panel survey.

Recommendation 9: Methods for producing local tourism statistics should be developed and piloted

The proposal for improved production of local area tourism statistics will be reviewed by the TIU.

Recommendation 10: Arrangements should be established for tourism interests to influence the development of employment and related statistics

The provisional work plan for the TIU includes the development and publication of a better statistical picture of the 'supply side' tourism data, drawing on ONS business data—this will include undertaking basic statistical analyses of employment and other economic data.

Recommendation 11: The dissemination of tourism statistics, and information about the basis and quality of those statistics, should be improved

VisitBritain have greatly improved the communication of research and market intelligence to the industry. They produce rich 'Market Profiles', quarterly round-ups of research and intelligence and have revamped their research web pages (to replace the Star UK website).

The provisional work plan for the TIU includes development of a series of guidance notes that will outline the basis and quality of all key tourism statistics.

Recommendation 12: Various steps should be taken to improve the quality of statistics of Business Tourism

No significant progress—in line with review's recommendation to see as low priority.

Recommendation 13: The review also makes a number of other, relatively minor, recommendations

No significant progress—also low priority.

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