The tourism industry is to write to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to press for an urgent review of tourism policy, reversal of funding cuts and separate funding to deliver the 2012 Olympic tourism strategy.
The decision comes after a crisis meeting last week with Tourism Minister Margaret Hodge to discuss funding cuts ended in deadlock.
Industry leaders are warning that the UK could forgo 110,000 jobs and up to £5b in lost revenues over the next 10 years if the Government's current tourism policy continues.
They gave notice that the 18% cut in VisitBritain's funding, which takes the total cut in tourism marketing to 50% since 1997, threatened:
- UK's position as the sixth most popular world tourist destination
- 2012 Olympic tourism legacy forecast at £2.1b in new revenue
- Competitiveness of UK tourism and its global market share
- Ability of VisitBritain to attract visitors from emerging markets, such as India and Asia and stem the decline from the biggest market - the USA
- Growth prospects in domestic tourism, particularly seaside tourism locations needing regeneration
The Tourism Alliance will today launch a "Take Tourism Seriously" campaign opposing government policy. It is supported by industry heavyweights such as former Hilton chief David Michels and Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments.
Alliance chairman Ros Pritchard said: "Failure to secure a change in government policy towards a pro-tourism agenda is the tipping point in our relationship with the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
"In the absence of the necessary leadership from DCMS, the Tourism Alliance has now lost patience with the Government's attitude toward the industry.
"At best the Government fails to understand basic economics, at worst it misled the tourism industry about its support for delivering an Olympic economic legacy."
Michels added: "Changes in the global and domestic tourism market are happening at such pace that must be anticipated with strong leadership and competitive policy. Government is failing on both accounts in its mishandling of the tourism sector."
By Daniel Thomas