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VisitEngland to become stand-alone body for English tourism

12 March 2015 by
VisitEngland to become stand-alone body for English tourism

VisitEngland is to be given greater autonomy following a recommendation to formally separate from VisitBritain.

The proposal to create greater distinction between the two bodies is highlighted in the government's Triennial Review of VisitEngland and VisitBritain published today by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

The move - which will have to be confirmed by the incoming government following the General Election in May - will return both organisations to the position laid out in the Development of Tourism Act 1969, with two autonomous bodies following different remits, each separately accountable for their activities.

According to the review, VisitBritain should be accountable for the tourism promotion of Britain overseas, while VisitEngland should undertake all domestic tourism marketing.

It also outlines the need both for both VisitBritain and VisitEngland to encourage more overseas visitors to travel beyond London. This will require Visit England to work with destinations across the country to develop offers and packages to appeal to tourists from overseas.

VistEngland's chief executive, James Berresford, seen here with the chief executive of VisitBritain Sally Balcombe, welcomed the recommendations.

"This gives us the role we have always wanted," he said. "We will be leading strategic development across the industry to ensure England's tourism offer is compelling. It takes us beyond marketing and involves us in helping shape the nature of the English offer."

"Our concentration of support for developing new tourism experiences will be a catalyst for the next generation of world class leisure and business tourism offerings."

While the recommendations will provide VsitEngland with greater powers, more akin to those enjoyed by VisitScotland and VisitWales, it will not ensure it receives the same level of government funding.

Tourism funding is a devolved responsibility in the UK, with the Scottish Parliament providing £50.3m to VisitScotland during 2014/15, and VisitWales receiving nearly £20m from the Welsh Assembly.

The government has recently announced a £10m investment into a northern tourism, £3m into VisitBritain's Countryside is GREAT campaign and a £2m challenge fund for regional towns and cities.

Last year was a record year for touris with 34 million visits from overseas tourists who spent £21.7b. This year VisitBritain expects spending to break through the £22m barrier and the number of visits to reach 35.1 million.

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