David Cameron has pledged to ‘stand fully behind every effort’ to boost British tourism, as he aims to make Britain one of the top five tourist destinations in the world.
Speaking at London’s Hyde Park this morning, the Prime Minister urged Britain to be proud of its potential to attract overseas visitors but advised the tourism industry to step up its competitiveness.
He added that the government would work to stop tourism being looked down on as a ‘second class service sector’.
“Tourism is a fiercely competitive market, requiring skills, talent, enterprise and a government that backs Britain,” he said. “It’s fundamental to the rebuilding and rebalancing of our economy.
“It’s one of the best and fastest ways of generating the jobs we need so badly in this country. And it’s absolutely crucial to us making the most of the Olympics and indeed a whole decade of great international sport across Britain.
“But quite frankly, right now, we’re just not doing enough to make the most of our tourism.”
Four-part tourism strategy
As part of plans to support the industry further, Cameron announced a four-part tourism strategy, which he described as being ‘the strongest possible’. This would focus on government support at both a national and local level, stimulating the private sector’s involvement with the industry, and taking care when making general policies that may impact tourism businesses.
Cameron also announced several measures the Government is taking to help businesses succeed, including:
- Reduce red tape and ‘excessive’ business taxes
- Waiving some employment taxes on the first 10 jobs created by new businesses outside London, the South East and the Eastern Region
- Reduction in time it takes to launch a business
- The launch of a £1bn Regional Growth Fund
- Cutting rate of corporation tax to 24p and small companies to 20p
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: “We are delighted that the Prime Minister has declared so clearly that tourism is fundamental to the rebuilding and rebalancing of our economy. And we share his determination to use the coming decade to boost Britain’s international competitiveness in tourism and to take our industry to a whole new level.”