VisitBritain has announced a restructuring as a result of its recent consultations with the industry, as part of the Framework Review of British Tourism (due to be announced in October 2008). Such evolutionary change that meets the concensus views of VB’s partner organizations will be welcomed.
It is clear, however, that the reason for the cuts in the professional staff of the organization (40% in London and 25% in overseas offices, in addition to other reductions made in recent years), is caused by the reduced funding that the Department of Culture Media and Sport allocated to tourism in the last Comprehensive Spending Review, while increasing the funding for other sectors that it sponsors.
VisitBritain provides insight into Britain’s overseas markets, representation, contacts and promotional support and co-ordination. In the extremely competitive international market, these cuts will be bound to impact the ability to attract visitors and persuade them to choose Britain as their destination. The returns for the economy of inbound tourism are well recognized. The Tourism Society believes that VisitBritain’s reduced capacity to win business for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a blow to the industry, and will cause losses to the economies of the home nations far in excess of any perceived “savings.”