ETB makes break with BTA to strengthen English brand

The English Tourist Board is breaking away from umbrella organisation the British Tourist Authority to strengthen the marketing of England as a brand in its own right.

The ETB and the BTA pool resources and share a head office, but now the ETB is hunting a communications director to lead a separate communications division.

One insider says: “The BTA has to maintain an air of impartiality between England, Scotland and Wales and, as a result, England comes out as something of a poor relation.

“Now, with the demerger there is a desire to move the ETB out of the shadow of big brother.”

The ETB is also discussing how to market England as a destination in its own right, rather than a collection of regions. English regional tourist boards, such as the Lake District and Yorkshire, have traditionally had a large degree of autonomy, and take 50 per cent of the ETB’s funding from the Department of Culture, Media & Sport.

An ETB spokeswoman says: “The ETB wants to play a larger part in co-ordinating strategy and policy and carrying that through to the regions.”

The organisation also wants to put more resources into lobbying the Government for the right to market England as a brand abroad. Under the 1969 Development of Tourism Act, the ETB is barred from marketing activities outside the UK unlike its Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts.

A spokeswoman for the ETB says at the time of the act it was not deemed necessary to market England as a separate destination.

The umbrella British Tourist Authority was allocated a 35m grant from the Government. The ETB receives an additional 9.9m grant and accounts for 85 per cent of tourism revenue in the UK in contrast to the Scottish Tourist Board which receives 19.3m and the Welsh Tourist Board which receives 14.7m.

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