06 September 2017

As tourism booms, ensure you are on the right side of the law

The Lincolnshire visitor economy is on the rise, but could rules and regulations bring you down?

VITAL advice to keep seasonal holiday businesses on the right side of the law has been issued, as new figures reveal the Lincolnshire visitor economy is booming.

A report, released by East Lindsey District Council, shows an increase in overall visitor numbers to the area in the last two years.

Between 2014 and 2016 the visitor economy across the area grew by 8.87 per cent, with a five per cent increase in overall visitor numbers. The research shows how a growing number are also opting for non-serviced accommodation – either in self-catering or holiday parks.

The East Coast has some of the highest concentrations of holiday parks in the UK with the seaside resorts remaining popular. Meanwhile the Lincolnshire Wolds, most of which sits within East Lindsey’s boundary, is seeing a growth in holiday accommodation.

At a recent seminar, holiday park owners heard about the possible pitfalls if they failed to adhere to rules and regulations covering the industry, including important aspects of employment law surrounding seasonal and irregular hours working.

Flora Bennett, a partner at Wilkin Chapman solicitors who specialises in tourism and leisure, along with agriculture, handed out vital advice in a number of areas.

Mrs Bennett, who is also a member of the newly-launched Lincolnshire LEP Visitor Economy Board, said: “The burgeoning visitor economy across East Lindsey, and indeed Lincolnshire as a whole, is very good news, but with it there are issues that the tourism business community must be mindful of.”

In her seminar, held on the East Coast, she advised attendees of the issues recent Government changes had brought, including the business rate re-valuation and changes to Annual Enveloped Tax limits, which may apply.

There was also an overview of the issues that may come up when employing seasonal workers on shifts – for example night staff may be entitled to be paid for a whole shift, not just the time they are awake and actually working.

“In this situation, there are many issues that must be considered including the responsibility of the employee, the requirement to provide a service and if it is a regulatory or contractual requirement,” explained Mrs Bennett.

Other important issues include planning for expansion, succession planning and problems that are thrown up when more than one business operates from the same site – as is often the case with tourist attractions and holiday parks.

Often overlooked, the upkeep of a site or attraction is also important – for example, land-owners have a legal requirement to prevent the spread of certain poisonous plants, such as Japanese knotweed, and failure to do so could cause problems.

Ms Bennett added: “All these issues are vital and it is important that from the start of any business venture, expansion or union, that issues are dealt with properly and advice is sought. Taking action from the offset will prevent problems, which can be both time consuming and expensive, further down the line.”

If you have any questions with regards to any of the issues detail above, please contact Flora Bennett, partner, Wilkin Chapman Solicitors: flora.bennett@wilkinchapman.co.uk

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