VisitBritain and VisitEngland survive the quango cull
by Annie Byrne
VisitBritain and VisitEngland both avoided the Government’s axe today (14 October), as the Department of Culture, Media and Sport published its list of 192 quangos to be scrapped.The two tourism boards may have avoided the bonfire of the quangos, but big budget cuts are still expected at both organisations. Nevertheless, they live to fly the flag another day.Chief Executive of VisitBritain, Sandie Dawe, said: “I am pleased the Review of Arm’s Length Bodies has recognised the important role of VisitBritain in promoting Britain as a tourism destination around the world. We now await confirmation of our budget next week."We have a huge task ahead to deliver the Government‘s ambition to generate a sustained increase in tourism as a result of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “Thankfully we have a clearer mission from Government than ever before and unprecedented engagement from Ministers. We have a plan for the Games that is equal to the job and we are already years down the road to success.“Last year 30m overseas tourists visited the UK, spending £16bn – making tourism the UK’s third foreign exchange earner. Spending by foreign visitors is forecast to almost double to £31bn in 2020, growing 4.4 per cent a year. Tourism is poised to expand faster than retail, chemicals, transport, the utilities and manufacturing. Only construction and financial and business services look more promising.’’Meanwhile VisitEngland Chief Executive James Berresford was also relieved at the news. “A key focus for us at this time is to work with Government and the industry to provide solutions that will ensure tourism is supported throughout the country once the regional development agencies close. “With agreement across Government departments, we have set up a transition team to ensure key tourism functions continue at a local level and will engage the emerging Local Enterprise Partnerships as they confirm their approach to tourism.“We are working closely with the tourism minister and his team on his new tourism strategy,” he adds. While some quangos will be abolished altogether, others will see their functions carried out by government or other bodies, the Cabinet Office says. A further 118 will be merged. Some are still under consideration and VisitBritain and Visit London are among the 380 to be retained.