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Tourism Alliance Campaign

Monday 26 November 2007, 3:17 PM

As a result of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government has decided to reduce VisitBritain’s funding by 18% (£9m) over the next three years. This cut is the latest in a series of Government decisions that demonstrate the downgrading of tourism’s importance to national policy. Over the last decade, there has been no increase in expenditure on overseas marketing, three major restructurings of the British Tourist Authority, English Tourist Board, English Tourism Council and VisitBritain and the erosion of government support for tourism at the national level.

DCMS has tried to justify this decision by stating that VisitBritain operates inefficiently and that sufficient funds are being spent on tourism marketing through devolved regional and local budgets to compensate for withdrawal of funding at the national level.

However, the department has produced no evidence of VisitBritain’s inefficiency nor confirmed of the amount of expenditure actually directed to tourism marketing by the wider public sector. In the industry’s view, the absence of such information is an inadequate position from which to make such significant policy and funding decisions that affect the future of the industry and highlights the Government’s poor understanding and commitment to tourism.

The “Take Tourism Seriously” campaign is therefore, to:

  • Communicate the industry’s very serious concerns with regard to the cuts in funding to the national tourist board and Government policy in support of tourism

  • Ensure that the review of public expenditure in support of tourism should:

    - Be independent

    - Take full account of industry views

    - Have no presumption as to its findings, in terms of efficiency savings to be achieved or the budget required to properly resource VB activity.

  • Ensure appropriate, separate Government funding is allocated to promoting the UK as a destination around the 2012 Olympics in order to maximise the forecast £2.1bn tourism legacy.
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