Published on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

VisitBritain chief slams lack of funding for UK tourism


Lack of funding is limiting Britain's ability to capitalise on the weak pound and the 2012 Olympics, according to UK tourism chief Christopher Rodrigues.

In a report published today, commissioned by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the VisitBritain executive chairman said just a modest amount of extra funding would make a difference.

"Correcting the perception that Britain offers poor value for money is an essential precursor to the effective showcasing of Britain’s attractions around the Games," he said.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that continues to slip between our hands for the lack of a very modest amount of incremental funding, and is all the more regrettable for being the undoubted highlight of a decade of global sporting events being hosted in Britain."

The full review is published today on www.tourismreview.co.uk.

Speaking at VisitBritain’s annual stakeholder event in London today, Rodrigues said 2009 will be the “defining moment” for British tourism.

“This is a time to talk about the importance of our industry: an industry supporting 2.7 million jobs, 200,000 SMEs and worth £114 billion," he said.

“Despite current economic woes, tourism is one of the few industries that could show growth with a real opportunity to grow to a £133 billion industry by 2018.”

VisitBritain said the weakened pound could mean up to five million more domestic holidays and increasing numbers of international visitors.

It has unveiled a £6.5 million ‘value’ campaign to run both domestically and in overseas markets.

The campaign will highlight deals from the industry and free access to national museums and galleries.

Under a new three-year strategy, VisitBritain promised to:
_ Establish the national framework and VisitBritain’s remit
_ Coordinate the voice of British tourism policy
_ Act as custodian of the Britain brand
_ Deliver a global overseas network to champion the national brands – Britain, England, London, Scotland, and Wales
_ Provide transaction and technology platforms that extend the reach of industry to the consumer
_ Deliver the tourism legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Research in 2008 by VisitBritain and Visit London into the impact of the credit crunch on tourism indicates that 20% of those who took a foreign holiday last year plan to save money by choosing the UK instead in 2009.

By Bev Fearis

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  • Britain, poor value for a "little less" of money

    Now the perception still is that Britain offers poor value for a "little less" of money...We all must remember that the USA was with a zero federal budget for tourism promotion for over 10 years and tourism entries kept growing year after year

    By ramon alvarez, Thursday, February 12, 2009

  • Value Britain Private Sector

    I am commenting in respect to changing perceptions about the cost of holidaying in Britain. There is the Invitation project which has gathered togethe a total of £2.14 billion in money saving discounts to encourage people to holiday in the UK. Add to tha seperately produced city cards, on-line discount schemes and other publications, why don't Visit Britain utilise this marketing support and generate marketing revenues at the same time?

    By David Cotton, Thursday, February 12, 2009

  • Value Britain Private Sector

    I am commenting in respect to changing perceptions about the cost of holidaying in Britain. There is the Invitation project which has gathered togethe a total of £2.14 billion in money saving discounts to encourage people to holiday in the UK. Add to that separately produced city cards, on-line discount schemes and other publications, why don't Visit Britain utilise this marketing support and generate marketing revenues at the same time?

    By Joe Buhler, Thursday, February 12, 2009

  • Britain, poor value for a "little less" of money

    Now the perception still is that Britain offers poor value for a "little less" of money...We all must remember that the USA was with a zero federal budget for tourism promotion for over 10 years and tourism entries kept growing year after year.

    By gary hewitt, Wednesday, February 11, 2009

  • Lack of funding

    If the government won't take the publicly desired line with banks and their bonuses perhaps bankers could consider donating some of their obscene rewards to the tourism fund!

    By yvonne scott, Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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