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VisitBritain must work with Government despite funding cuts, says chairman

VisitBritain must work closer with the Government and private enterprise to ensure it maximises the UK’s tourism opportunities.

Speaking at the official opening of the British Travel Trade Fair 2008 in Birmingham, VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said the marketing board must now accept the 18% drop in Government funding from £55.1 million over the next three years.

Instead he urged VisitBritain to strengthen and form new links to ensure they are doing their best for the UK tourism trade.

He added: “I really believe the CSR funding cut is not where we should focus, our challenge is the bigger challenge of working together with the Government and the private sector.”

Minister for culture, creative industries and tourism Margaret Hodge agreed the focus for the future should be on further growing the UK’s tourism market which is currently worth around £85 billion annually and employs around two million people. She said it is hoped the trade will grow by 50% in the next decade.

She added to achieve this there must be more focus on all aspects of the business, from its training to standards, and said the trade must take advantage of the opportunities presented by the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.

Former Blackaddder star and Time Team presenter Tony Robinson added Britain must also market its hugely divergent cultural experience in order to attract more tourists.

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