Spend it here – send them here!

The Tourism Minister, John Penrose, has confirmed that the government is on target to raise £100 million for tourism marketing over the next four years. This money is vital in encouraging overseas visitors to explore other parts of the country and not just stay in London and the Home Counties. I am still worried that the bulk of this money will be spent on promoting the normal tourism traps. We will see how Visit Britain plans to avoid this, when I receive a reply to my recent letter to their Chief Executive.

Written Questions – Tuesday 25th January

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what his most recent assessment is of the progress of the £100 million tourism-marketing fund launched in August 2010 in reaching its financial target.

John Penrose (Tourism Minister): Last summer, we challenged British businesses to come together with the Government to create the best ever overseas tourism marketing campaign for Britain, and take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and other major events such as the royal wedding and Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee.

Subsequently, on 5 January the Prime Minister held a reception for tourism industry leaders at Downing Street to thank some of those already involved. Companies including British Airways, DFDS, lastminute.com, P&O and Radisson Edwardian have already pledged their support to help match the £50 million of public money we have committed through VisitBritain and we are well advanced towards meeting the £100 million target.