Members of BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, gathered in London on March 15 for their annual general meeting, followed by a parliamentary lunch at the House of Commons.
There chairman John Bollom (pictured here, in his chain of office, with chief executive Colin Dawson) launched the association’s new manifesto, underling the campaign to “Take Tourism Seriously.”
Although some of the industry’s requests have fallen on deaf ears in recent years, on this occasion BALPPA received an impressive turnout from politicians of all persuasions, indicative perhaps of the fact that a general election is just months away.
In its manifesto, BALPPA makes four key requests that it claims would be beneficial for the tourism sector and the country as a whole. These include reducing tax on admissions and income to 5% (currently 17.5%), introducing a three-year daylight saving experiment, widening the scope of lottery funding and amending the 2005 Gambling Act.
Margaret Hodge MP, minister for tourism, gave strong hints that following recent comments from the prime minister, that the issue of daylight saving was under discussion at a senior government level. BALPPA wants to put clocks forward by one hour, in line with the rest of Europe, thereby creating an extra hour of daytime and boosting tourism activity.
BALPPA chief executive Colin Dawson expressed his pleasure at hearing both the minister and shadow minister Tobias Ellwood voice their support for the issue. “I have been strongly pushing this issue for the last six years and we appear to be very close to success,” he remarked. “As this was my last parliamentary lunch, it would be an amazing retirement gift if there was an announcement of consultation on a three year trial in the near future”