Tourism slump prompts calls to reverse funding cuts

19 September 2008 by
Tourism slump prompts calls to reverse funding cuts

The Government has been urged to reverse its decision to cut VisitBritain funding and invest more in promoting tourism after official figures revealed a 4% slump in the number of tourists visiting the UK between May and July.

The number of visits by foreign tourists during the three months fell to 8.2 million, with associated spending of £4.1b, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The slump was driven by a 6% drop-off in the number of North America visitors, falling to 4.3 million.

In contrast, 17.8m Brits travelled abroad, with their associated spending increased by 4%to £9.4b.

Responding to the figures, Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, said: "With North Americans staying at home we need to be promoting the UK to markets we have previously not attracted visitors from.

"If the Government is serious about assisting the tourism industry then it must reverse its short-sighted decision to cut Visit Britain's budget and reinvigorate its approach to promoting the UK abroad."

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By Daniel Thomas

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