English travel agencies could soon find themselves acting as tourist information centres as VisitEngland hopes to attract an additional £50 billion in tourism spend in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the Strategic Tourism Framework designed to drive English tourism over the next 10 years, VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said the £50 billion would be on top of the £97 billion the industry already earns in England and would help create a further 225,000 jobs.
He believes travel agents can play a vital role in this thanks to their high street locations, travel knowledge and contacts, and the trust they engender in consumers.
Berresford said he hoped travel agents would take the opportunity to start providing information about local attractions and then take advantage of the commercial opportunities as tourists visit their shops.
“People are taking the domestic product far more seriously now,” said Berresford.
“Travel agents are trusted and they are ideally placed on the high street so we want them to act as a shopfront for England.
“We may not have the strategy fully implemented by the summer but we hope to have some agreement with agents by the summer.”
The Strategic Tourism Framework is the first of its kind for England and comes following the creation of VisitEngland last year, which gave England as a separate fully-funded marketing board for the first time.
The campaign was launched last week in London during British Tourism Week and seeks to increase tourism revenues by increasing England’s share of the global visitor market, offer desirable destinations, champion England’s thriving tourism industry and ensure greater engagement between visitors and attractions.
Berresford added: “This framework strives for an even higher standard of quality and service so that we can improve our offering, increase jobs, spend and growth, and champion a competitive industry.”
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