Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Inbound tourism industry slams 'inaction' of VisitBritain

Faced with the daunting prospect of furlough ending and the lack of any other means of sector specific suppor,t owners of businesses hurt by the virtual eighteen-month shutdown of inbound tourism have turned their wrath on the national marketing body VisitBritain.

With the majority now looking at another summer of no income they feel that the government has offered little or no understanding of the plight they face and VisitBritain have not fought their corner with sufficient vigour.

Rob Russell CEO of AC Group said 'I have received back today via my local MP a letter from the treasury showing a complete disregard for the tourism industry and what we bring to the country and the UK economy.  I am aware from talking to other DMC owners that over the past few days they have received a similarly worded response."

"It now looks like it is a case that VisitBritain are not prepared to start fighting with a louder voice for tourism'.The treasury department point to the ARG grants - very few DMC's were approved for these and those that were received 3,000-6,000 pounds versus costs of hundreds of thousands over the period of 18 months since our borders were closed - this is simply not acceptable." 

"I cannot honestly see how Visit Britain can continue to stay mute on this matter."

The point was emphasised by Emmanuelle Spriet - Toussaint CEO.of E-voyages Ltd

'Most of our European neighbours have had the sense to support their tourism sector and when I see how far Visit Scotland and Tourism Ireland go to ensure that their operators receive the support they need, I am utterly dismayed by the deafening silence we have been witnessing from Visit Britain.'

When asked for a response Patricia Yates, Deputy CEO of VisitBritain, said 'Since day one of the pandemic we have been supporting all the travel businesses we can with regard to advice about health security, financial aid and marketing."

"The Good-to-Go assurance scheme has been enormously successful, and we are about to embark on a series of overseas marketing campaigns. Visit Britain has the upmost sympathy for all tourism businesses that are suffering from the lack of overseas tourists and hardly a day goes by when we don't have meetings with the various government departments involved."

It is unlikely that this will satisfy operators who are enraged by the perceived lack of action and understanding.

Mike Clark of ECE - European Cultural Experiences summed up the groups feelings when he spoke to TravelMole.

He stated that 'Despite repeated requests of Government Ministers, MPs' and trade associations many businesses are hanging on by a thread - it will be two years in March for many of our colleagues without any income.'

"VisitBritain, by their lack of engagement appear unconcerned about the consequences of the "Britain is Closed" notice for inbound travel."

"If you want a vibrant travel industry with theatres, attractions, museums, and the like playing to full audiences then they need to get behind the sector before it is too late,"

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