UK tourism could miss out on Olympics boost, says report

UK tourism has seen little growth and the UK will continue to lose global share of the market, a report by a culture, media and sport select committee has claimed.

The report slammed the cut to VisitBritain’s budget from £49.9m in 2007-08 to £40.9m in 2010-11.  It said: “We find the DCMS attempted explanation of this decision wholly unconvincing and we urge it to reconsider the funding settlement.”

The budget cut could lead to London missing out on the opportunity to showcase London and the UK to the rest of the world during and after the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, it said.

“DCMS has published a tourism strategy for the games, yet it is difficult to see how this can be delivered in light of the funding cut for VisitBritain,” the select group reported.

The UK is perceived as offering a poor welcome, poor customer service and being more expensive than other countries.

The report called for the DCMS to take a stronger strategic lead for the industry.

UKinbound welcomed the findings. Chief executive Stephen Dowd said: “The budget cuts to VisitBritain were indeed baffling and leave the national tourist board unable to fulfil some of its core functions, let alone deliver on the government’s own strategy to realise the full potential of the 2010 games.”

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