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Travelodge boss urges Government to tackle decline in tourism growth

18 February 2008

Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn has urged the Government to do more to tackle the decline in tourism growth.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published last week revealed that overseas visitor numbers to the UK for 2007 were up by only 1% on 2006, while spending by visitors rose by just 2%.

While visits from Europe increased by 2% to 23.8 million, visits from North America decreased by 6% to 4.5 million and visitors from other parts of the world fell by 1% to 4.6 million.

Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, warned the ONS figures should be a "wake up and smell the coffee moment for Gordon Brown", adding they could indicate the beginning of a long-term decline that needs to be addressed before it's too late.

Hearn said: "Not only is this the worst annual tourism performance since 2001, we continue to under perform world and European growth averages. Under funding overseas marketing, a lack of government leadership and decreasing competitiveness are now having a real impact on tourism's bottom line."

Hearn added a "radical overhaul" of the national tourism strategy was urgently needed, starting with an "aggressive and well funded marketing campaign to reposition Britain around the 2012 Games".

Visit London appoints Grant Hearn to the board >>

Tourism benefits of hosting Olympics underestimated >>

Tourist spend falls for first time since 2003 >>

By Helen Gilbert

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