The government has cut the budget for VisitBritain by 5% and ring fenced funding for VisitEngland.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) revealed details of the funding for 2014/15 today, following news that the department will see an 7% reduction in funding as part of the spending review announced by Chancellor George Osborne last week.
Both VisitBritain and VisitEngland welcomed the news as better than expected, saying the move was a clear indication of the government’s commitment to the tourism industry.
Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said: “Today’s announcement by DCMS has confirmed VisitBritain’s funding for 2015/16 at just under £20 million – a reduction of 5% on our 2014/15 budget.
“This is a good result for VisitBritain and clear evidence of ministers’ commitment to the tourism industry. This government understands the importance of tourism as one of the country’s leading export industries and a powerful engine of job creation.”
VisitEngland chairman Lady Cobham said: “This is good news for English tourism. We are pleased and reassured by this clear commitment from government to tourism in England.
“We recognise the public purse is under ever increasing pressure so we are delighted that tourism’s significant contribution to the economy has been recognised by Maria Miller and Hugh Robertson.”
The European Tour Operators Association (Etoa) had warned last week that cuts of 12% had been touted.
Culture secretary Maria Miller is believed to have fought hard to keep the reduction in the DCMS arts budget at 5%, and the cut in funds for the Olympic sporting legacy programme was also pegged at 5% – leading to concern the shortfall would be made up in part at the expense of tourism.
A statement on the DCMS website said the small reduction reflected the “vital role of tourism in delivering economic growth”.
Hugh Robertson, minister for tourism said: “Tourism is a key growth area and has a vital role to play in securing an economic legacy from London 2012. We will continue to work closely with the sector to do all we can to help it increase its contribution to the economy.”
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