Now in its fifth year, British Tourism Week (BTW) from 12-20 March provides an opportunity for businesses of all sizes across the UK to do something, whether it's a special promotion or a special event, for consumers, local politicians and students (of all ages).
Some will use the BTW website to get ideas as to how to get involved, others will download the invitation letter and send it to their local MP to invite them to "go back to the floor" at their business. The important thing is to be part of it and register your activity on the website (www.britishtourismweek.com), as this is the main focal point for information.
There are lots of ideas on the website for getting involved and many trade organisations are communicating the key messages to their members. The British Beer & Pub Association, for example, has created a special eight-page guide to encourage pubs and breweries to get involved.
This year there are a number of big differences in the climate surrounding BTW. First of all we have a new playing field - a coalition government with a prime minister who spoke passionately about the industry within 100 days of taking office.
We have many new MPs who have all been written to explaining the importance of tourism. We also have the pressures on VisitBritain and VisitEngland in terms of substantially reduced budgets, the impact of the closure of regional development agencies and in some local authorities budget reviews, tourism will compete with other key services. As ever it's down to businesses at the sharp end to get involved.
The opening event on Saturday 12 March is a national celebration called "Party on the Pier" which although focusing on traditional seaside piers, is open to jetties and harbours, inland waterways and rivers. Tourism minister John Penrose MP will launch Party on the Pier and BTW on the restored Weston-Super-Mare Grand Pier. Elsewhere around the country there will be parties, congas, concerts, exhibitions and fundraising events.
What are you doing? Have a look at the ideas on the BTW website and once you have your promotion or idea, register it to become part of the official programme.
Tell your customers and local politicians the key facts of the industry (also on the website) and tell your staff how important their job is to the UK economy. Encourage local schools and colleges to find out more about the industry and consider it as a viable, wide-ranging career choice.
This year is a turning point for the economy and tourism, as the fifth largest industry, is a key driver, creating new jobs more effectively than any other sector.
Be part of it.