UKinbound has welcomed the findings of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee’s investigation into tourism and says that Government should now listen to what the industry has been telling them for some time.This well balanced and thoughtful report detailed the industry’s lack of confidence in the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), poor cohesion in the national tourism structures and a need for stronger leadership from DCMS. The committee also concluded that the national tourist board, VisitBritain, is need of more funding and called the recent budget cuts “baffling”. Without sufficient funding, the Committee said there is a danger of missing an opportunity to showcase London and the UK on the world’s stage during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
UKinbound particularly supports the Committee’s call to Government for a reduction in the price of tourist visas. Overseas visitors are charged on average £207 per person in visas, taxes and other Government charges, much higher than our European counterparts, and this hugely damaging to the UK’s ability to compete as a destination.
Stephen Dowd chief executive of UKinbound said:
“Given the overwhelming evidence provided, the Committee could only have reached the conclusions it came to and we warmly welcome the recommendations made, particularly in relation to a reduction in Visa costs. The budget cuts to VisitBritain were indeed baffling and leave the national tourist board unable to fulfil some of its core functions, let alone deliver on the Government’s own strategy to realise the full potential tourism benefits of the 2012 Games.”