ETB’s demise undermined national brand

Lucy Barrett’s analysis of the marketing of England in “English woes” (MW May 25) deals only with the recent fruit, or lack of it, that now passes for a cohesive and dynamic representation of English tourism.

England “has struggled to find its own identity” because those charged in the past with speaking it failed abysmally compared with the determined voices heard for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Yes, powerful political agendas culminating in devolution went a long way towards arriving at this imbalance, but the demise of England goes back far beyond the current government. And the blame must be shared by ambivalent English MPs and those who oversaw the sorry demise of the English Tourist Board.

The sum total of the English regions is not the brand. Even individually, they are not brands as they are structured on local authority administrative boundaries that are different from the natural areas which can be positioned to a market. The very act of providing a couple of logos to say “and, by the way, this is in England” recognises this shortcoming.

This is not the fault of the English Tourism Council – a neutered shadow of the other grant-endowed, muscular national tourist boards – but those who have allowed this disgraceful situation to arise.

We appeal to English MPs to rise up and demand true leadership and a coherent tourism marketing strategy for England. Some of us would give our time gladly, if we were only asked.

Stuart Harrison

Managing director for brands

Premier Hotels

London W1

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