The Backing UK Tourism: Destination Recovery report claims that it is impossible for the industry to grow because there is no clear co-ordination by the Department of Culture Media and Sport of the work of the 100 or so public sector bodies representing tourism across the nation.
Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Tourism will play a key role in Britain’s future economy, but the industry needs stronger, clearer support from government to reach its full potential. This is a sector which can rapidly create jobs, even in the current economic conditions, yet it suffers from an extremely confused support structure. Ministers need to recognise the potential of the industry and make necessary reforms, which will help underpin the UK’s economic recovery.”
Travelodge and the BCC say that reform of the current system would help create more jobs and would help grow the sector in the face of international competition.
“Reforming the support structure in place for tourism will free the industry from its current constraints and allow it to flourish. It is one of the few sectors of the economy which is both currently creating employment opportunities and can also contribute a lot more. If that is to happen however a sea-change in attitude within Whitehall towards our industry must take place," said Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn.
The report recommends that responsibility for tourism should be moved to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) and that VisitBritain should be given the 'freedom, support and funding' to focus on marketing the UK abroad.
Hearn added: “Tourism should be removed from DCMS and the responsibility for delivery given to DBIS, supported by a full-time Minister tasked with policy co-ordination. Urgent reform can then take place, freeing up Visit Britain to concentrate solely on promoting the UK abroad. If the Regional Development Agencies, domestic tourist bodies and local authorities then had to report directly in DBIS I have no doubt we would see a far better use of the public money available for tourism promotion.”
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