The government has signalled its intention to agree on an Industrial Strategy for the UK tourism industry – as long as the sector delivers on four key requirements.
Speaking to the Tourism Industry Council, secretary of state for tourism Jeremy Wright called on the industry to respond with a "renewed commitment" to promote its offer throughout the year, not just in the peak summer months, and increase high-quality, well-paid jobs.
Wright asked the sector to look at four key themes, which include increasing accommodation capacity; making tourism and hospitality a 'career for life'; and making the UK the 'most accessible tourism industry in the world'.
He also called on the sector to improve how it shares industry data to "identify growth opportunities" in new and emerging markets.
"Every time a leisure or business traveller chooses to visit, it brings investment in our economy and supports jobs across the country," Wright said.
"But we are in a competitive global market and we need to be ambitious to maintain the fantastic growth we have seen in recent years.
“I want to make sure that we continue to attract visitors to all parts of the UK throughout the year, who are welcomed by a highly-trained and highly-motivated workforce.
“A Sector Deal is a way to deliver this, and the industry have put forward some strong ideas to Government.
"We are ready to formally negotiate on a deal which can boost productivity in this crucial sector.”
“I want to achieve the best deal possible for tourism and know that the industry will respond with renewed energy to achieve this.”
The announcement follows an initial proposal submitted by tourism industry leaders, led by Steve Ridgway, chair of the British Tourist Authority.
“Tourism is an economic powerhouse, a growing industry with huge potential to scale-up productivity, so it is very welcome news that an official negotiation for a sector deal has been confirmed by the government," said Ridgway.
“Securing this deal will be a game-changer for the industry, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, fixing issues from skills and productivity to extending the season year-round and building stronger tourism destinations up and down the country.
"And it will be a game-changer for the economy with a sector deal growing the value of the industry and increasing employment in tourism.
UK tourism is now estimated to be worth more than £66bn a year to the economy and the sector employs around 1.6 million people.
Annual statistics released in July revealed that a record-breaking 39.2 million visits were made by overseas tourists to the UK in 2017. The latest domestic tourism figures, meanwhile, show that a total of 120.7 million overnight visits during 2017.