Impoverished UK tourism body given task of attracting four million visitors over four years
Despite being subject to severe budget cuts, VisitBritain, which markets the UK across the globe, has been given a set of tough targets.
These include attracting four million additional visitors to the country and bringing in an extra £2 billion to the economy over the next four years. VisitBritain has also been given the task of stimulating the creation of 50,000 new jobs in the UK.
The aims are laid down in the recently published UK Government Tourism Policy, which VisitBritain welcomed as “continuing recognition of tourism’s ability to support the wider growth agenda”. The policy sets out VisitBritain’s key priority: “delivering a four-year match-funded global marketing programme, which takes advantage of the unique opportunity of the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Games to showcase Britain and attract new visitors”.
VisitBritain will also continue to provide research – “market intelligence and analysis to inform the British tourism industry and to deliver on its statutory duty to advise Government on matters related to tourism, in particular those areas that affect Britain’s global competitiveness”.
VisitBritain’s chief executive, Sandie Dawe, put a brave face on the demands her organisation faces, saying: “Today’s publication of a new Tourism Policy shows an understanding across government of the potential for tourism to deliver economic growth and jobs throughout Britain.
“VisitBritain’s clear priority over the next four years is to deliver a £100 million, match-funded, global marketing programme, which will yield four million extra visitors to Britain, £2 billion additional spending within the economy, and stimulate the creation of 50,000 new jobs.
“Britain is a world class tourism destination, and it is vital that we continue to compete effectively. VisitBritain will continue to advise Government on tourism, particularly in areas that affect Britain’s global competitiveness such as visas and transport infrastructure.”
Tourism currently contributes, both directly and indirectly, £115 billion each year to the UK economy, and employs 2.6 million people. The country’s 30 million inbound visitors make tourism the UK’s third largest earner of foreign exchange. And the industry has the potential to be one of the five fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.
Despite this, the UK Government has recently slashed back budgets for those organisations set up to promote Britain.