People, Travel

UK Tourism Budget Down 12%

London is one of the most visited cities in the world.
London is one of the most visited cities in the world.

The agency promoting the UK worldwide as a holiday destination faces a £2.5 million cut in its budget because of the fall in the pound’s value following the vote for Brexit.

VisitBritain’s spending power has been reduced by 12% in the last six months, according to an analysis by the Liberal Democrats.

The result will be less cash for advertisements and promotions in key markets in Europe, North America and Asia, The Guardian reported.

The cut is in addition to a reduction of £8.6 million on the money VisitBritain is being given by the government to sell the UK to foreign tourists.

It has been allocated a budget of £21 million in 2016-17 compared with £29.6 million in the previous financial year. Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, told iNews: “Tourism was meant to be a growth area with visitors taking advantage of the weak pound.

“But this research shows just how hard it is to boost tourist numbers when the budget to attract visitors has been devalued by that same weak pound.

 “It is vital, post the Brexit referendum, that we attract visitors, showing that Britain remains open, tolerant and united.”

The figures were calculated by examining the fall in the value of the pound against the euro, the dollar and the Chinese yuan since June. A VisitBritain spokeswoman said, “[Our] international marketing budget is subject to the effects of foreign exchange rate fluctuations, which means that at the moment we can do less with our fixed budget.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said ministers were committed to supporting Britain’s “record-breaking tourism industry”.

She said, “At the 2015 Spending Review, the government announced that core grant-in-aid budgets for VisitBritain and VisitEngland will be stable until 2020.”

Nevertheless, in 2017, Britain is expected to see the biggest rise in tourist spending in four years and a surge in visitor numbers, partly thanks to the slump in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote.

Overseas visitors are expected to spend £24.1 billion next year, up 8% on 2016, according to VisitBritain.

Just over 38.1 million tourists are expected to enter the UK, up 4%, drawn by celebrations such as the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book and the 200th year since the death of Jane Austen, as well as the potential to snap up luxury bargains.


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