VisitBritain has unveiled a three-year strategy to boost the UK’s inbound market as well as develop cohesion between the government and the regional bodies. The new position will begin with a £6.5m campaign to promote the UK’s value for money, as well as its free access to national museums and galleries.
The weakened pound could lead to Britons taking five million more holidays in their own country this year, VisitBritain executive chairman Christopher Rodrigues told a gathering of top officials today. It would also result in an increase in the number of overseas visitors to the UK, he added VisitBritain.
Speaking in London at VisitBritain’s AGM, Mr Rodrigues said: “This is a time to talk about the importance of our industry: an industry supporting 2.7 million jobs, 200,000 SMEs and worth £114 billion.”
“Despite current economic woes, tourism is one of the few industries that could show growth, with a real opportunity to grow to a £133 billion industry by 2018.”
“Our priority this year has to be working with the industry to encourage Britons to explore their own country and foreigners to visit us right now, when we offer great value,” he continued.
“Success will mean increasing numbers of visitors, spending more in local economies and creating jobs: good news for Government and smaller businesses in a deepening downturn.”
The British Tourism Framework Review, commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2007, found that VisitBritain must strive harder to coordinate British tourism policy.
The report also recommends a new dedicated standalone body to promote English tourism, VisitEngland, with London 2012 at the heart of its message.
The review says VisitBritain should act as a co-operative overseas agency supporting the five brands of Britain, England, London, Scotland and Wales as equal partners.
Tourism leaders in the UK have criticised the Government heavily in recent years over its failure to support the sector. The latest blow came last month when Ms Follett refused a one-off state payment to help VisitBritain market the 2012 Olympic Games in London.