The Government is coming under increasingly fierce political pressure as speculation mounts it is about to cut funding for overseas tourism marketing body VisitBritain.
Caterersearch has learnt a cut in VisitBritain's core budget of 10% to 15% is being considered, with an announcement expected as soon as tomorrow (18 October).
Despite an inflation matching increase for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) budget last week in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), industry leaders are fearful of a cut in tourism funding.
Although increases in spending for the arts, museums and galleries were promised, the DCMS has also been charged with finding £148m in annual savings, there was no direct mention of tourism.
Tourism Alliance chairman Ros Prichard said: "Rather than backing an industry that has consistently shown it can provide real economic and social benefits, the Government has not increased VisitBritain's budget for overseas marketing for 12 years.
"To further cut its funding would mean that the tourist board will be hard pressed to maintain core marketing activities let alone prepare for 2012."
Don Foster, culture spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, added: "The Government seems determined to squander the tourism benefits the London Olympics could bring.
"Labour's record on tourism over the last ten years has been appalling. It has slashed VisitBritain's budget and turned the chair of the most important tourism organisation in the country into a part-time job."
By Chris Druce
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