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13 Dec 2018

Go To Places CEO warns of 'uncertain future' for regional tourism funding

A tourism chief has warned of the uncertain future of local government funding for destination management organisations (DMOs) and the "inevitability" of further budget cuts.

Speaking at The Tourism Consultants’ Network Conference in Manchester, David Curtis-Brignell, Go To Places Deputy CEO – and former chair of The Tourism Society – predicted that the "53 per cent cut in tourism funding" seen in the previous nine years "will only get worse".

He also suggested that further cuts – combined with a £15.7m cut in government funding to councils in the decade 2010-2020 – will mean that budgets for tourism promotion and management are at risk.

According to Curtis-Bignell, local tourism agencies will need to look at ways to outsource, collaborate and use "smarter working" in order to survive,

“DMOs can no longer rely on traditional sources of long-term funding or traditional models of operation and will have to look at new operating and funding models going forward," he said.

"These will include outsourcing in order to maintain a tourism service which is affordable.”

“The future of the DMO funding model will be a mix of outsourcing and smarter working. The solution to funding uncertainty lies in collaborating with other destinations to create “Super DMOs” which will bring much-needed economies of scale.”

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