The Treasury is being urged to confirm the importance of the UK’s national tourism boards and the vital role they play in the inbound tourism industry ahead of the Autumn Statement.
Concerns are growing within the tourism industry that this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review will see the axe fall heavily on non-protected departments such as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – resulting in drastic cuts for the UK’s national tourism boards – VisitEngland and VisitBritain.
UKinbound chief executive, Deirdre Wells, (pictured) has written to chancellor George Osborne calling on the Treasury to acknowledge the importance of tourism boards.
A survey of the organisation’s 350 members found that 80% say that support from local or national tourist boards was important for their business.
Marketing strategies such as VisitBritain’s GREAT campaign coupled with strong product development at local level were frequently cited as factors supporting the success which the inbound industry has benefited from in recent years.
The letter from Wells to Osborne, sent just over a before the release of the Autumn Statement, said: “VisitBritain and VisitEngland are recognised universally as having done an enormous amount to deliver the step change in visitor numbers to the UK which we have seen in recent years.
“However, both organisations suffered cuts in the previous spending round which resulted in core activity, such as business support and the overseas network being reduced dramatically.
“There is a real concern within the industry that a further cut in this spending round – to an already modest budget – will have a serious impact on vital services.
“Every extra visitor who comes to the UK brings an additional £630 in export earnings and contributes £216 to the Exchequer; therefore supporting VisitBritain and VisitEngland in growing this industry further is sensible economics.”
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