The Tories could hold a review of UK’s tourism marketing structure should the party win the next election.
Speaking during the Tourism Society Question Time, at the British Travel Trade Fair last week Conservative shadow minister for tourism Tobias Ellwood said he believes the current structure sees the money spread too thinlyacross a number of agencies, many of which are end up promoting the same thing.
He expressed particular concerns about regional development agencies which are supposed to promote their own areas but require more funding and cause additional costs while sharing the same aims as umbrella agencies like Enjoy England.
Ellwood said: “We are very concerned about the situation that we face, we are losing out to our competitors and we need to look at the domestic market. The structure we have in the UK, I believe, needs to be reviewed.
“I think there’s an awful lot of overlap, the RDA structure needs to be reviewed.”
Meanwhile, minister for culture, creative industries and tourism Margaret Hodge urged domestic tourism businesses to do more in order to close the current UK tourism deficit which stands at £19.3 billion.
She added: “I regard it as challenge for the tourism industry to see how it can grow the domestic tourism.”
However, Liberal Democrat shadow secretary of state for culture media and sport Don Foster said the situation has not been helped by the Government, especially after cutting VisitBritain’s funding in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.
He also urged the Government to consider the creation of a fully funded independent agency promoting English tourism on a par with VisitScotland as opposed to Enjoy England which is a part of VisitBritain.
Foster added the Government’s continued levying of VAT on the UK’s attractions, bed and breakfasts and hotels also made the UK tourism industry less competitive in the European market.