Tourism and Leisure

Last year, the Government launched its Tourism Action Plan[1] that set out their strategy to boost tourism, jobs in the sector and economic growth.

Tourism and Leisure is very important to the UK as it provides 1.6 million jobs across the country, contributes £22.1 billion into the country’s economy and domestic overnight spend hit a record high of £19.6 billion in England in 2015.

Licensing plays no small part in its contribution to tourism and leisure in the UK and one would be hard pressed to find any leisure activity where licensing does not play its part.

From small garden fetes and school fairs to large music festivals, and most tourism & leisure activities in between, licensing is there to make sure people are safe and protected.

However, the age old difficulty of striking the right balance in regulation – or as the Government refers to it as “Commonsense Regulation” – and enjoyment and this is particularly prevalent in tourism and leisure.  People want to enjoy themselves as much as they can when engaging in leisure activities but there is a recognition that regulation is required to ensure people are safe when out and about.

The Government said: “The Review’s objective is to find ways of cutting red tape and reducing bureaucratic barriers to growth and productivity. We would expect tourism businesses to be among those that will benefit from improvements made in light of the review.”

The tourism action plan set out proposals to deregulate certain aspects of licensing regulation to promote growth in the industry, which were:

  • to deregulate an element of Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licences as soon as parliamentary time allows. This will allow owners of hotels/ attractions to collect visitors from train stations/ ports of entry, without having to apply for PHV licences (operator, vehicle and driver).
  • to introduce a new, light-touch licensing notice, which will allow small quantities of alcohol to be sold by small accommodation providers to their guests, and by community groups at local events. This will enhance the welcome that small establishments can provide to guests - without requiring them to apply for a full licence.

This of course is only one aspect of licensing’s role in tourism and leisure but one that illustrates that it is an important one and one recognised as such.