How the UK transport sector supports tourism Memorandum by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport

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1 How the UK transport sector supports tourism Memorandum by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Summary 1. In July 2015 the Prime Minister published the Five Point Plan, which sets out the actions this Government will take to grow tourism throughout the UK. Success in tourism depends on enabling people to get out and about so transport is of key importance. From its rich steam heritage to the red buses, black cabs and tube map of London, the UK has perhaps the most iconic transport in the world. Indeed, for some, it is in itself a tourist attraction. However, there are also challenges. VisitBritain research highlights that 46 % of inbound visitors to the UK cite fear of driving on the wrong side of the road, as a barrier to exploring beyond London. Success in growing inbound tourism in the nations and regions is therefore contingent on our making it as easy as possible for international visitors to travel across Britain using public transport. Improvements in transport also strengthen our domestic offer. 2. The Chancellor has announced 61 bn of transport spending for this Parliament 50% higher than the previous five years. The Government is taking positive action to enhance the experience of using public transport and is funding improvements across the transport network at both the strategic and local level. 3. This note summarises key actions being taken to help overseas tourists make their way around the UK and describes how transport investment is strengthening Britain s appeal as a visitor destination. Improving integration and making it easier for visitors to use public transport 4. We understand that integrated transport is important in developing England s tourist experience, which is why transport is included within the scope of the threeyear 40 m Discover England Fund, which opened for bids on 11 th May In year one, the fund will focus on: small-scale quick-win projects and pilots that meet customer demand and test new products or new ways of joining up and distributing existing products; research to build understanding of customers, markets and product gaps; and seed funding to build bids for years 2 and 3. Improving transport connections will be central to the success of the Discover England Fund, which is why DfT will be represented on the awards panel. 5. We want to ensure that visitors to the UK have access to the right information, in the right form, at the right time - and ideally in the right language. The VisitBritain website has general travel information in multiple languages, and it is possible to access more detailed information from both transport gateways to the country and tourist attraction sites. Brown tourist information signs help visitors travelling by car to find tourist attractions, and a number of cities provide walking direction signs. Further, technological innovations from Rome2rio, to Google s route planner, to Citymapper, can help digitally enabled tourists to navigate on arrival. 1

2 6. We are working to improve transport ticketing. DfT has supported the roll-out of smart ticketing infrastructure on bus, rail and light rail in urban areas across England and there are many multi-modal city schemes now in operation. The Government has announced 150 m to support Transport for the North (TfN) in delivering smart ticketing across the North of England. 7. International travellers wishing to purchase rail tickets before arriving in the UK can choose between a multi-journey BritRail pass or individual point-to-point tickets for specific journeys. Both these products are sold worldwide by a network of specialist rail agents appointed by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) - including well-known retailers such as Trainline and Rail Europe. The point-to-point tickets make up the greater number of tickets purchased by international travellers. 8. We want to make it easier for independent travellers and tour operators to choose and book the train ticket that is right for them. For a tourist, buying a rail ticket will not just be about choosing a ticket type and destination, but be about buying a GREAT experience. This means that we need to consider the whole customer journey - including the final mile : addressing how visitors access the attraction/ destination from the train station. 9. DfT, DCMS, ATOC, the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), VisitBritain and VisitEngland are taking the following steps to achieve these goals: Making it easier to travel by rail VisitBritain is undertaking market testing to understand the customer experience in purchasing train tickets in different international markets, and how this might be improved. This research will inform discussions with ATOC and its distributors to improve the discoverability, attractiveness and bookability of a number of iconic trips beyond London with proven international appeal. Through its 2 for 1 initiative, ATOC is working to highlight the attractions available to visitors that venture beyond London using a BritRail pass. To further strengthen the appeal of the offer, VisitBritain and ATOC are working to extend the 2 for 1 initiative. They are also holding a workshop with attractions to discuss what further steps can be taken to make it as easy as possible for attractions to be accessed via rail. This might be about attractions liaising with local transport providers to ensure that local buses and trains are broadly co-ordinated or it could be in terms of ensuring that customers have access to the information they need to make the bus journey - e.g. number of the bus, frequency of the service and details of any change. Supporting innovation In addition to the Discover England fund, there are other sources of funding focused on innovation. The Prime Minister announced in 2015 that 1 m would be made available for a rail for tourism innovation competition, funded by the DfT. The competition was launched in March Its aim has been to incentivise innovation that will help more visitors to discover the UK outside of London with heritage and community rail, which reach into parts of the country that tourists often miss. Winners 2

3 are in line for grants ranging from 25,000 to 75,000 to develop their ideas. The competition, which included a Dragons Den event, generated some great ideas and we will be announcing the winners soon. Currently, around 10 million people a year visit a heritage railway with the sector contributing an estimated 250 million to the UK economy. Community rail lines account for around 40 million journeys per year. They are often rural based and many support the tourism industry of these areas. Question: Does the tourism industry council have any comments on the Government s activity to inspire more visitors to explore Britain using public transport? Investment in new infrastructure Rail 10. The Government is delivering the biggest modernisation of our railway since the Victorian era. We are electrifying 850 miles of the main rail network, including between Preston and Blackpool North, enabling the through-running of electric services from the West Coast Mainline to one of the UK s biggest seaside resorts. This is in addition to key infrastructure projects such as Crossrail - which will increase capacity by 10 % and make it easier to get into and around London and beyond. 11. Our new high speed railway, HS2, will deliver significant capacity and journey time improvements and will also benefit over 100 towns and cities across the country through new commuter and intercity services on existing lines. HS2 will also link to three of the UK s major airports: Heathrow Airport, via interchange to Crossrail, Manchester and Birmingham. 12. Additionally, the Northern Powerhouse Rail network will improve train frequency, passenger capacity and journey times through the new passenger rail franchises and planned infrastructure upgrades. Both the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises will deliver a 1.2 bn boost to rail services in the region, with 500 brand new carriages, additional passenger capacity and thousands more services. Local initiatives 13. Transport improvements at a very local level can also boost tourism, and the Government has invested in many such schemes through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Examples include equipping cruise boats on Lake Windermere and Red Jet Isle of Wight ferries with bicycle racks to attract more visitors for cycling holidays. 14. Since 2012 the Department for Transport has provided almost 30 m to train operating companies for new and improved cycle facilities at stations to make it easier and more convenient for people to get to and from the station by bike. The Government also provided 17 m in funding between 2013 and 2015 to boost cycling in national parks as part of the Cycle Ambition grant programme. 3

4 Aviation 15. The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and since 2010 passenger numbers at UK airports have grown 19 %. Nearly three quarters of our international tourists arrive by air 1, representing c. 25 million visitors per year. We are seeing UK airports continuing to launch new routes, which will allow more tourists to visit the UK will see the launch of new long-haul routes such as Manchester to Beijing, as well as a number of short-haul routes such as Newquay to Frankfurt-Hahn. 16. In , the Government made 7 m available for new passenger air routes, through the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, to further expand our already world class air sector. This has included the launch this spring of a route from Norwich to Exeter, as well as new European routes from Southampton to Lyon and Dundee to Amsterdam, with the launch of a route from Leeds Bradford to Newquay expected later this year. 17. The Government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the South-East and the Airports Commission s shortlisted options. The Government is continuing to consider the comprehensive evidence published by the Airports Commission before reaching a view on its preferred scheme. 18. The Government is also improving surface access to airports and ports through its investment programme. Connections to international gateways 19. To support visitors to make onward connections from the airport, the third platform at Manchester Airport station is now open. Electric trains direct from Manchester Airport to Liverpool started in service in December Access to two of the three international airports in Yorkshire has been improved in recent years with The Great Yorkshire Way connecting Doncaster Robin Hood Airport with the M18, funded with 18 m from the Growth Deal. Access to Humberside Airport has also recently been improved with 1.7 m from the Humber LEP Growth Deal. The East of Exeter scheme aided the expansion of Exeter Airport, and the Isles of Scilly Link improved Penzance harbour to allow the replacement of the boat to the Scilly Isles. 20. Schemes that are currently in development to improve access to transport gateways include the Newhaven Port Access Road, the Luton Airport Perimeter Road scheme and the A45 new Bus Rapid Transit route from Birmingham City Centre to Birmingham Airport, which will deliver bus priority plus new larger buses. Furthermore, Highways England are in the process of developing a scheme to improve the A63 in Hull which is the main route from the port to the M62. This scheme will not only improve access to and from the port but also into the tourist destinations in Hull itself such as "The Deep" aquarium and the commercial heart of the city. (Hull is a major ferry port and is one of the main points of entry for tourists from mainland Europe into Northern England.) 1 Office of National Statistics International Passenger Survey

5 Improving the road network 21. Our main road network is benefiting from an unprecedented 15 bn plan. This provides for transformational improvements to connectivity and capacity, with resultant benefits to residents and tourists alike. 22. Coach tours can provide a popular option for those tourists concerned about driving on the wrong side of the road and we must also not forget the benefits of road investment to the vast number of domestic tourists who like to holiday at home and benefit from the great attractions that the UK has to offer. 23. One recent success story is the reopening of the A591 in Cumbria following storm damage over the winter. The project to repair a four-mile stretch was completed almost three weeks ahead of schedule, enabling holidaymakers to use this important Lake District route during the spring bank holiday and May half term. 24. The map at Annex A shows selected transport schemes from the 2015 Spending Review, including key roads improvements. Question: Does the tourism industry council have any comments on the Government s programme of investment in the UK s transport infrastructure? Taxation - Air Passenger Duty 25. In the UK, there is no tax on aviation fuel or VAT on domestic flights, so Air Passenger Duty is intended to ensure that the aviation sector plays its part in helping to reduce the deficit. The Government has recently reformed APD to cut the longest haul rates and exempt children, reducing the tax burden by 1.5 bn over the period At Summer Budget 2015, the Government published a discussion paper exploring three options to support English regional airports from the potential impacts of APD devolution. The Government is carefully considering the responses received to the discussion paper and will respond in due course. 26. We know that the Scottish Government has committed to reduce the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) to 50 % by the end of the next parliament (2021). It has consulted on how the scheme should be structured and operated and on how to mitigate environmental issues and the deadline for submissions is 3 rd June The Government is considering the case and options for devolving APD to Wales, informed by a review of options to support English regional airports, which have legitimate concerns about the potential impacts of devolution due to the close proximity of English and Welsh airports. 5

6 Annex A 6

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