The chairman of VisitBritain will today make a public appeal to the Government to prioritise investment in tourism when the new Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funding is allocated.
In an address to The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions, Christopher Rodrigues will warn that the UK risks losing more than £2b in additional tourism income if the Government chooses not to provide modest extra funds to take advantage of the 2012 Olympics.
VisitBritain is currently awaiting news from the DCMS on its funding for the next three years.
It has requested a" modest increase" in funding for the first time in 12 years to combat increased competition for tourism spend from around the world, and specific funding to secure the tourism benefits of hosting the 2012 Games.
Rodrigues will say: "VisitBritain has had its Government grant-in-aid budget frozen for the past 12 years, which has led to significant cuts in real terms. During this time our tourism deficit has grown every year until it now stands at more than £18b.
"Now the DCMS has won additional funding from the Treasury in the Comprehensive Spending Review, it has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to promote this vital and valuable sector of the economy.
"After 12 years of flat budgets and rationalisation it is unrealistic to expect this once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity to come out of our already hard-pressed resources that are fully deployed elsewhere," he will add.
By Daniel Thomas
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