A new fund aimed at generating £1b-worth of PR and marketing activity for British tourism around the 2012 London Olympics is being launched by the Government, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, will announce today.
Speaking at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - the venue for the Olympic sailing events - Hunt will say that the fund will help harness the full potential of 2012 to create a permanent tourism legacy for the whole country "meaning a sustained and sustainable increase in the number of tourists visiting our shores".
Hunt will announce that it is his priority to ensure that the UK learns lessons from previous Olympic host nations to ensure the development of "the best tourism marketing plan that any country has ever had".
It is intended that the plan will be financed by the private sector working in conjunction with the Government. Details of how the fund will operate will be published by the end of September after Tourism Minister John Penrose has sought the views of all stakeholders.
Hunt will also announce the Government's aim to boost domestic tourism, by issuing a challenge. He will ask: "How can we increase the proportion of the tourism spend that UK residents' spend on domestic tourism to 50%?"
In 2008 the amount spent by UK residents on domestic overnight tourism accounted for 36% of their total tourism spend.
In his speech, Hunt will state that tourism is vitally important for the UK, making a direct contribution to the economy of nearly £90b each year and employing around 1.5 million people.
Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said that he strongly welcomed Hunt's recognition of the industry, and he "hopes that the secretary of state he will now put his fine words into action."
He also warned that the £1b-worth of marketing and PR activity would only work if the private sector partners were involved in the operation of any plan.
By Janet Harmer
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