Position Paper of the AIS
- an industry alliance


Showmen feel that they are a minority and have the right to enjoy their cultural identity, without fear of being forced to assimilate i.e. to settle.
They feel that they are being discriminated against and believe that the right to enjoy one's culture includes rights to engage in economic activities essential to cultural reproduction.
These concerns are being ignored, because they are not being formally recognised in law as a cultural minority.

With anything in life however, there comes a point in time where decisions and action have to be taken. That time is now. We understand that a clear and agreed understanding by all involved in this community needs to be established, and for our part this document we have written is testament to our understanding and belief of this statement.
Again, people might have a different viewpoint and perspective on what is presented and may challenge the conclusions and observations made; this is inevitable and welcome.

Going back to the core values of the business

The best way to strengthen the position of this industry is to go back to, and build on the core values of being in the business of a travelling Showman:
- Community – you’re never alone;
- Family orientated;
- Strong work ethic – 24/7;
- Respect and reputation;
- Sense of unique identity, heritage and legacy;
- Entertaining the public;
- Determination to honour an agreement; come what may.
Expressing and reinforcing these principles is essential for the prosperity of the whole community and to sustain the community for future generations.

Health and Safety Executive Sector plan for health and safety

The sector’s health and safety performance, in relation to public safety, is comparatively good given the number of visitors to fairgrounds and the number of rides taken annually. Public safety is the principal concern of HSE, with a key focus on controlling the risks for riders from machines, particularly those arising from potential failure or incorrect operation of large, higher-risk rides. Risks to workers from workplace transport, work on electrical and mechanical equipment, working at heights and operating equipment and large plant also need to be managed as they have the potential to cause significant harm

ADSC – Good Governance

A complex system such as the ADSC cannot be controlled by one association. However it can be influenced. And the more the system is able to adapt and learn, the greater the probability that it can be influenced or nudged into the desired state. Traditional understanding of governance and risk management has been dominated by process thinking, but in the extended enterprise that is this business we need to give at least as much attention to relationships, attitudes and behaviour. This involves balancing good processes with wise judgment in a constant renewal process built on valuing diversity, developing self awareness and regular benchmarking.

Key Challenges

In 2019, as part of UK tourism, there were 28 million day visits attended in the UK to outdoor fairs/exhibitions/show. Of this sector an outdoor fair relates to a funfair, and is viewed by UK Tourism as an Activity Core to Tourism (ACT). This core activity in 2019 equated to 15 million day visits across the UK

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) the current year to date figures overall for tourism in the UK for 2020 was a decrease of 82 percent on 2019. This figure matches our in-house survey of cancelled events for the industry in 2020 – 82%.

Coming out of Lock down

Now is the time for policy-makers to commit to reforms. Current support and funding will support Showmen short-term, however many travelling Showmen are now concerned – 76% about the period of time between being potentially allowed to operate and the amount of money they have left and available to achieve this.

What needs to be accounted for and recognised is that this sector is operated by a traditional cultural travelling community that brings benefits to communities who do not have a high disposable income. This is an important part of a Showmen’s "product and service mix".

Promoting the sense of unique identity, heritage and legacy

It is our understanding that the biggest stumbling block in realising this core cultural objective with regards to gaining recognition for Showmen is the fact that most associations, Nationally and Internationally are not aware that the UN Human Rights Committee has shown a willingness to interpret article 27 of the ICCPR as protecting some activities that possess non-universal and collective dimensions.

Position Paper of the AIS

This understanding however requires a high degree of clarity of thought in getting a clear message across to all Stakeholders, for as the argument suggests, both the elements of business and culture is inextricably linked with regards to the Showmen’s way of life and is the basis of the desire to be recognised and respected.

Members can read the full paper