VisitBritain is to review its operations after the Government announced a 34% cut to its four-year budget, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Tourism Minister John Penrose said that it was necessary for VisitBritain to reorganise and work towards partnership marketing with the hospitality and tourism industries in order to meet the new budget.
"It is important that public and private money is brought together to ensure that we can maximise the tourism benefits of the 2012 Olympics," he told a briefing of journalists immediately after the Chancellor of the Exchequer had outlined the full extent of the Government's spending cuts to the House of Commons.
In cash terms, the financial cuts will mean a budget for VisitBritain of £26.5m in 2011-12, reducing to £21.2m in 2014/15. This compares with the current year's grant in aid of £28.8m.
Chairman of VisitBritain Christopher Rodriguez said that the budget cuts amounted to "tough love".
"VisitBritain will respond to the settlement by further cutting overheads and reducing its physical network overseas to retain as much money as possible for our global marketing effort," he said.
"It is less than two years until the eyes of the world will be on the opening ceremony of the London games. We have a great chance to use the unprecedented level of media exposure that the event will bring to boost Britain's image abroad.
"We are determined to do our utmost, despite this reduced funding, to grasp that opportunity and are already in discussions with ministers about how to create the strongest possible campaign around the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games to promote this country as a tourism destination working in partnership with the private sector."
Chief executive of VisitBritain Sandie Dawe said the significant reduction in its funding would not change VisitBritain's objectives, which include inspiring the world to visit and explore Britain, delivering a global network capable of promoting Britain, championing the tourism industry and creating a sustained increase in UK tourism as a result of the Olympics.
"Our aim now is to tighten our focus clearly on to the UK's key markets: ones that are already delivering for us and those emerging markets that are key to our future. We will use new technology including our award-winning suite of multi-lingual websites, social media platforms and international public relations expertise to maintain our global footprint, as well as a staffed presence in key locations."
Penrose said that a new Government tourism policy, which would explore partnership marketing between the public and private sectors, would be published in the next few weeks.
By Janet Harmer
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