25 Apr 2012

Torbay holiday firm forces change in tourism policy

A South Devon holiday company has forced a change in tourism policy countrywide.

Tourism bodies up and down the country can no longer insist that advertisers have to be inspected for the national quality ratings before being featured in brochures and websites.

The English Riviera Tourism Company announced the change in its policy following changes at national level at its recent industry update.

The change was brought about by a complaint by Helpful Holidays from Chagford.

Managing director Moray Bowater explained the company, with 30 employees, had complained several years ago as it felt it was unfair ungraded businesses were barred from certain publications, promotions and websites part funded by the taxpayer.

It referred its complaint to the European Competition Commission.

Mr Bowater said: "It has taken a long time to resolve. We considered it was restraint of trade.

"The commission says that a partially state-funded organisation cannot engage in the market. For example, you couldn't have a state-funded supermarket in competition with others.

"VisitEngland and VisitBritain decided to have a policy of only including accommodation inspected. We didn't think that was fair.

"There is no statutory requirement on businesses to be inspected, it's not cheap and can cost hundreds of pounds.

"We run our own inspection service which we provide free to our properties as part of an incentive to sign up with that.

"We don't see any reason why our owners should have to incur an additional expense of at least £100."

FULL STORY: ThisisDevon.co.uk