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Minister defends Government support for travel – 18 Jan 2007

Minister for creative industries and tourism Shaun Woodward has assured the travel and tourism industry that the Government does take it seriously.

Delegates at the Travel Society Prospects 2007 event heard Woodward defend VisitBritain’s £35 million annual marketing budget, claiming that although it has been frozen for nine years it is still double that of France, Germany and Italy.

Woodward said: “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because we don’t have a department the size of the Department of Trade and Industry we do not think you are important.”

However, VisitBritain tourism trends manager David Edwards claimed the Government is risking tourism’s competitiveness, with the VisitBritain spending freeze equating to a 22% drop in real terms and now being rivalled by nations such as Croatia and Northern Cyprus.

Meanwhile, hotel industry consultant Melvin Gold said a royal wedding between Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton, “would have more impact in putting Britain on the world map than the Government’s spending does”.

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