Abta, UKinbound and regional tourist boards from around the country are among the organisations who have written to the government to highlight the need for greater funding to promote England and drive tourism.
More than 40 representatives from attractions, airports and tourist boards have signed an open letter to David Cameron and George Osborne in the run-up to this Wednesday’s Spending Review, outlining the importance of VisitEngland and the requirement for extra funding.
The signatories are calling for an independent fund to be established to improve tourism in England, with a focus on regional counties rather than London.
The fund will focus on product developments and would require £20 million a year to “address the serious market failures in the tourism sector”.
It is claimed that over four years the work undertaken as a result of the fund would generate £1.28 billion spend and almost 24,000 jobs.
The letter backs the GREAT campaign and accepts it will “reap long-term benefits” for the country, although it also highlights how much more funding Visit Wales and VisitScotland are granted.
It states: “Whilst all the home nations benefit from marketing afforded by GREAT and VisitBritain, both Visit Wales and VisitScotland supplement this activity with dedicated tourism budgets of over £20m and £54m respectively.
“VisitEngland on the other hand receives a core budget of less than £7m to support the English tourism industry.
“This is expected to fall below £6m in the current Spending Review and will be made even worse by VisitEngland no longer receiving Regional Growth Fund money, which between 2012 and 2015 was successful in generating over 1.5 billion spend and supporting or creating over 29,000 jobs – a devastating double setback compounded further by the end of the South West and Northern Tourism Growth Funds.
“English tourism in our view is being unfairly overlooked with real concern that VisitEngland may soon be forced to end its business development and domestic marketing activity entirely.”
It adds: “Chancellor, we ask you on behalf of English tourism, its businesses and its destinations, to review the low funding and damaging imbalance that English tourism currently experiences when compared with Visit Wales and VisitScotland.
“To address this, we ask for your support in the Comprehensive Spending Review for the Government’s triennial reviews recommendation for VisitEngland to independently manage a challenge fund to help secure your five-point plan and allow English tourism to finally reach its potential.”
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