More travel industry voices have been added to the chorus of disapproval over the government’s planned £4 million advertising campaign for domestic holidays.
Last week culture secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the largest ever push for UK holidays spearheaded by a TV advert questioning why Brits would go aboard during the 2012 London Olympics year.
Amanda Wills, Virgin Holidays managing director, said: “Hearing that the government plans to spend £4 million on an advertising campaign to promote domestic holidays would be funny if it weren’t such a tragic waste of money.
“This in the week that thousands of hotel rooms have been released due to lack of demand, and businesses are being asked to discourage staff from using the public transport system.
“It’s myopic in the least to neglect the overseas holiday sector, yet this is another example of the government doing just that.
“Whether it is Air Passenger Duty, rising fuel prices or restrictive security procedures at our airports, Number 10 seems determined to make up the mind of the consumer and deter them from travelling abroad for a well-earned break from the UK.
“The fact is that the government must be more balanced and show greater common sense in its approach to tourism, and not remove from the consumer yet another area of choice.”
And trade association Abta released a statement saying: “Abta has always been a strong advocate for domestic tourism and fully supports the government’s efforts to ensure that the positive global exposure offered by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics boosts foreign visitor numbers.
“However, we are very concerned that the government is sponsoring a marketing campaign that appears to actively discourage UK holidaymakers from taking a foreign break: I’m sure the public want to make up their own mind about where to go on holiday.
“The outbound tourism industry employs hundreds of thousands of people throughout the UK and generates £27 billion annually in direct spend, making a fundamental and significant contribution to the economic health of the country.”
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