VisitBritain criticises the Government after budget cut

VisitBritain has slammed the Government after it ignored the national tourism agency’s plea for more funds to launch a £20m global TV campaign and instead slashed its budget for the next three years.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is reducing Visit Britain’s subsidy from £49.6m to £47.6m for next year. This will be followed by further cuts to £45.1m in 2009 and £40.6m in 2010.

Chairman of Visit Britain Christopher Rodrigues expressed “real disappointment” at the decision, particularly as it follows ten years of static funding and what he claims was the most challenging summer for tourism since 2001.

Rodrigues says: “Global tourism is increasingly competitive and the tourism industry will have to fight hard if Britain is to retain its place in the global tourism league.”

He adds that VisitBritain’s marketing partnerships with the travel industry and regions will have to be more efficient to plug the gap the cuts have created.

The tourism board asked the government to provide financial support to fund its marketing plans and promote the brand as a tourism destination last week (MW October 18). The last time it launched a global TV campaign was five years ago with its £40m “Only in Britain. Only in 2002” advertising push.

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