VisitBritain to continue Olympic “global marketing effort” despite cuts

VisitBritain, which is to promote Britain as an Olympic destination, is to see its budget slashed by 34% just two years before the start of the London Games.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport says the tourism body’s funding will dip to £21.2m by fiscal year 2014/15 from £28.8m at present.

Despite the cut, VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues insists that the Government understands “the value VisitBritain brings to Britain’s tourism industry”.

“VisitBritain will respond to the settlement by further cutting overheads and reducing its physical network overseas to retain as much money as possible for our global marketing effort,” he says.

The tourism body will play its part in what culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Hunt described in June as the “best ever marketing plan that any country has ever had” around the Olympics, Rodrigues insists.

He continues: “It is less than two years until the eyes of the world will be on the opening ceremony of the London Games. We have a great chance to use the unprecedented level of media exposure that the event will bring to boost Britain’s image abroad.

“We are determined to do our utmost, despite this reduced funding, to grasp that opportunity and are already in discussions with Ministers about how to create the strongest possible campaign around the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to promote this country as a tourism destination working in partnership with the private sector.”

VisitBritain was spared the axe as part of the Government’s reform of public bodies, or quangos last week but has not escaped budget cuts on the day the Government unveiled plans to reduce public spending by £81bn by 2015.

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