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Issue:- 21 March 2013


AS English Tourism Week kicks off, Travelodge CEO urges more than 100 MP's to promote industry from2nd class status.'  Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO has written to 106 MP's from England's key tourism constituencies, including John Pugh MP, to ask them to stand up in the House of Commons and fight for the industry.

Travelodge's CEO Grant Hearn is urging Mr Pugh to promote tourism and ensure that it thrives in his Southport constituency. There is a new hotel scheduled to open in October 2013, creating 26 jobs and bringing £1.5 million each year to the local economy.

With the right regulatory framework the UK's 5th largest industry has the potential to create 300,000 jobs by 2020. However a lack of Government action will prevent this from happening, which is why Travelodge's boss is asking for the support of the local MP to promote tourism from its second class status in the eyes of policymakers.

In the letter Mr Hearn makes a case that it is high time policy makers woke up and unlocked the true potential of one of the UK's fastest growing industries and asks MP's from England's key tourism constituencies to support a 10 point plan to develop a tourism industry capable of leading the economy to sustained growth and job creation.

The 10 point plan calls for the Government to move tourism higher up its agenda, and for the sector to be given the status it deserves - by moving it from the Department of Culture Media & Sports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

As tourism is crucial to economic growth the plan also includes a recommendation for a dedicated taskforce to be created, which is headed up by a tourism minister. This group will be tasked with delivering growth and creating a cross departmental cohesive strategy in cooperation with all tourism partners.

The letter also calls for more to be done to increase the UK's competiveness, especially to reduce the bureaucracy behind the visa application process which keeps so many BRIC visitors away.

Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO said:- "English Tourism Week celebrates a vital industry in terms of providing economic growth, inward investment and job creation but it has been largely ignored by successive Governments. The industry needs more than just lip service, as we have a huge opportunity within our grasp to help the economy recover. A lack of action is costing jobs, growth and investment, and whilst we dither, our European neighbours and the USA are successfully pursuing growth via forward-thinking tourism strategies.  The difficulties in the economy are well-publicised, but British tourism can act as a catalyst to help grow the UK's economy and create much needed jobs. It's crucial that the Government does everything it can to unleash the true potential of one of the few industries that is continuing to grow, but to be able to do that we need MP's who will champion its cause. Our 10 point plan is about positioning tourism as a key element of a sustainable economic recovery, so we hope this provides the catalyst for MP's to stand up and fight for it."

The letter is published on the back of a Travelodge report which provides stark evidence into the role that tourism can play in delivering sustained economic growth. The first ever comprehensive analysis into how tourism performed during the double dip recession shows that the industry outperformed the general economy, leading the way in terms of employment numbers and revenue growth.

The report proves that tourism is one of the few industries to have continued growing despite the economic crisis. Whilst GDP grew by 8% from 2007, during the same period the tourism industry increased its revenues by 12.6% to more than £40 billion; representing 10% of GDP.

Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, the reports shows that the industry continued to create jobs, including 120,000 new ones in 2011 alone. As a further illustration of this growth, Travelodge is announcing plans to help put more young and long-term Britons into employment. The hotel chain is pledging to create 500 new jobs, 100 apprenticeships and 50 work experience positions by 2015.

The report also shows that the UK's appeal as a tourist destination endured during the double dip recession, with overall visitor numbers up by 3.1% to 157.4 million. Staycations form the backbone of the tourism economy, with domestic trips and holidays increasing by 5.6% to 126.6 million. This shows that Britons have reacquainted themselves with holidaying at home, and City breaks emerge as particularly popular, accounting for 23% of all domestic breaks.

However, the report also highlights there are huge opportunities to grow tourism particularly when it comes to boosting overseas visitor numbers. Between 2007 and 2011, global tourism grew by 23.4% but during that same period, 2 million fewer overseas visitors came to the UK, a drop of more than 6%. This means the Government's target for 4 million new overseas visitors by 2014 will be missed.

At present, Europe and the USA are leading the way in attracting overseas visitors, particularly from emerging BRIC markets. For every Chinese tourist who visits Britain, 8 go to Paris and 10 visit America. On average the typical Chinese visitor spends £1,600 whilst in the UK. China has a population of 1.3 billion but in 2011 just 149,000 citizens visited the UK, spending £240m. In contrast the USA attracted 1.1 million Chinese visitors in the same year.

Southport Access For Everyone

THE next meeting of Southport Access For Everyone forum will be held at the Victoria Methodist Church, Sussex Road, Southport, PR8 6DG.  On Monday, 25 March 2013 at 7 pm. This is a free public meeting. The premises are fully accessible for wheelchair users with adequate car parking facilities, and light refreshments will be served will be served before the meeting commences.  Anyone with an interest in disability issues is welcome.  For more information please visit their website. For further enquiries go to our website or telephone:- 07866531036

Teachers to lead rigorous new research trials to help disadvantaged pupils achieve academic success

A £4m research scheme is being launched to give teachers an opportunity to lead trials to identify the best ways of closing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.

The National College for School Leadership is encouraging teachers with a track record of reducing the attainment gap to put forward their best strategies for rigorous testing, using research methods that are more common in the field of medicine and business.

Randomised controlled trials are used in medicine, business and other sectors but have not previously been used extensively to test the effectiveness of interventions in the education sector.

The 2-year "Closing the gap: Test and Learn" project will see a small number of promising strategies analysed to establish which are the most effective and could be replicated across the country.

It is anticipated that up to 1,000 schools and many more teachers could be involved in the project with initial findings due to be published next year.

Charlie Taylor, Chief Executive of the National College, today called on teachers with a strong track record of closing the gap to come forward with their ideas that could be trialled on a large scale.  He said:- "This is a great opportunity for teachers to engage in research with universities and spread findings about the best ways of reducing the attainment gap so that all pupils achieve academic success, regardless of their background. Rigorous research like this is critical because the way we teach pupils needs to be based on good evidence, in the same way doctors use evidence of what works when treating patients. Research skills are the key to professional improvement and just as practising doctors based in teaching hospitals drive medical research, so practising teachers should drive educational research."

The initiative will be run through the growing network of teaching schools, working with universities.

Teaching schools are a new feature of the education landscape in England and are modelled on the concept of teaching hospitals. They are designated to lead the training and professional development for staff, working with other schools. Engagement in research is an important part of the teaching school role. However this project is adopting a research methodology similar to those in medicine and business which will enable teachers to compare the effectiveness of the different approaches.

A paper published last week by Dr Ben Goldacre - Building Evidence into Education - sets out the case for more evidence-based teaching practice.  He said:- "I think there is a huge prize waiting for teachers and school leaders if they can establish a culture where evidence of what works best is collected and used as a matter of routine. The experience from medicine suggests that this will improve outcomes and increase professional independence. Some claim, quite incorrectly, that it is impossible to run trials in education, or gather good quality evidence on what works. This scheme shows what can be done, with many hundreds of schools using a rigorous randomised trial approach."

Teachers wishing to find out more or take part in the, Closing the Gap - Test and Learn, scheme can find out more and apply via going on online.


MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that 3 firearms and ammunition were recovered, on Thursday, 14 March 2013, by officers in Kensington and Kirkby. The 1st weapon was recovered in Kensington. At about 10.40pm on Prescot Drive a special constable on foot patrol noticed a white Peugeot van displaying false registration plates. On checking the vehicle he found ammunition, a knife, balaclavas and what is believed to be, a pistol, inside. Specialist officers attended and the items were recovered to be examined. The 2nd and 3rd weapons were recovered in Kirkby. At about 11.30pm a silver Jaguar XF was seen by officers travelling at high speed along Eastway towards Kirkby. A search of the area was undertaken and officers found the vehicle abandoned on County Road. Following a search of the vehicle, what are thought to be, a silver revolver and a black self-loading pistol were discovered. Specialist officers attended and the items were recovered to be examined. Forensic experts are now examining the items to see if they can be linked to any incidents or individuals. Detective Chief Inspector Richie Salter from Matrix, said:- "These were excellent recoveries thanks to the vigilance and excellent Police work of a Special Constable and officers in Kirkby. The fact that a 3 firearms and ammunition have been seized and taken out of circulation is a fantastic result as they can no longer be used to harm someone in this community. We are not complacent when it comes to guncrime and I would encourage members of the public to share any information they have about firearms or those using them with us and, with their help, we can keep guns and ammunition off our streets and put the people who use them behind bars." Anyone who has information about those involved in organised crime or gun crime should call Merseyside Police's Matrix Unit on:- 0151 777 5687 or Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.

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